A 2020 surprise

How has 2020 changed your life? Big or small - good or bad, we want to hear your story. Email: comm.engage@strausnews.com

21 Sep 2020 | 02:31

In the beginning of the year, Wantage resident Cassandra Beach had her future all laid out: finish up her last semester at Berkeley College, land a nursing job, and eventually work on expanding her family.

In typical 2020 fashion, things didn’t go exactly as planned.

Amongst murmurs about COVID-19 arriving in the U.S. in mid-March, Beach’s nursing school teacher sent everyone home from clinical for the day, saying they’d be back the following week.

“The next day, by midnight, I had an email saying we were going full-virtual,” said Beach.

Suddenly, she was juggling homeschooling her eight-year-old stepson, taking care of her two-year-old toddler and completing her nursing degree all at once.

“It was kind of challenging” she said. “Nobody wanted to come over and help because everyone thought everyone was going to have the virus. So we worked through it.”

But then she got sick. She went to the doctor’s, thinking she had managed to contract coronavirus.

Her COVID test was negative. But another test came back positive.

“I wound up being pregnant. That’s what was causing my symptoms,” said Beach. “I thought it was a joke; with my son, I had to use a fertility clinic to get pregnant.”

Beach finished up her final semester of nursing school. She said taking her board exam was “a little scary.” She had to go to Hoboken, pregnant in the middle of the pandemic, to complete it.

“But things ended up working out. I passed my board exam, my step son passed the first grade, and we’re expecting a baby girl in December.”

Beach said 2020 “showed how many different challenges life could throw at us — and we’ve overcome them.”