When I first heard the announcement that school would be closing down indefinitely because of COVID-19, I was ecstatic. Like those of many of my classmates, my attention span and learning capacity were reaching their limits. After all, it was second semester and having fun with friends should be taking priority above schoolwork, right? I returned home from school, excited, for what I didn’t know would possibly be the last time in my high school career.
Week 1: This first week was a time of relief, confusion, and the beginning of a rollercoaster of emotions. Waking up at 2 p.m. felt great for the first couple of days, but by the 4th or 5th day, I began to realize that all I would do is eat and laze around before I slept again and repeated the cycle. Waking up in the afternoon made me think about how little time there was left in the day and how there would probably be no use in trying to be productive that day. “I’ll wake up early tomorrow” was my motto throughout this whole week; however, it never did have its effect on me as I would go to sleep at around 4 a.m. because of my now unbalanced sleep schedule.
Week 2: This was when my school had started its first week of “virtual learning”, where students would have to sign in for attendance at certain times and wake up for class periods that started as early as 8:30 a.m. The difficulty it took to get out of bed to get my laptop and go back in bed to start virtual school made me wonder at how I ever even fathomed to wake up at 7 on regular school days for the past 12 years. Week 2 was more academically rigorous than Week 1, with my teachers all having prepared their assignments and lesson plans.
Week 3: It was strange to think that Week 3 was spring break, but lo and behold, no classes were held during this week, which was a curse for some students. Although this wasn’t applicable for me personally, some students felt that they would rather be assigned work during spring break than have nothing to do because they were that bored. Luckily, with the exception of Advanced Placement teachers, this week was an assignment-free period of time, where boredom hit its peak. I began to see more and more Instagram and Snapchat stories of my friends’ baking creations; everyone had suddenly started their own cooking shows when quarantine began. I followed the trend and busied myself with baking, eating, experimenting with “Dalgona” coffee, and even more eating. I picked up my dusty old ukulele from 8th grade and tried learning a few chords before I eventually got bored of that too. Even Netflix was starting to feel tiring (these are words I never thought I would be uttering in my life).
As an introvert, I didn’t think that I would be very affected by social distancing; I was always relieved when plans would be cancelled. However, the fact that I wasn’t able to go out just made me want to even more. My friends and I used social networking apps like Facetime and Houseparty to communicate and have our little bit of human interaction. It shocked me to see my screen time hours soar as high as 15 hours daily on my phone. After talking to several of my peers, I felt relief as most of them had similar hours of YouTube, Netflix, Facetime, and TikTok as me. TikTok, one of the most used social media apps in today’s age, has been particularly time consuming, and I’ve found that the majority of teenagers’ screen time is dedicated to this app. Time passes unbelievably quick when scrolling through TikTok, and before you know it, the sun is rising and you’ve pulled an all nighter by spending 6 consecutive hours watching skits, drooling over cooking videos, and attempting to learn trendy dances.
Concerning the virus itself, it is scary to have to fear going outside just to get some fresh air or to go to the grocery store. Many seniors in high school have a personal vendetta against this pandemic as it ruins their last moments in high school with their friends before they all part ways to go to their respective universities. A senior myself, it does feel unfair that I won’t get to experience a prom, graduation, or the few remaining memories with my friends after working so hard for 4 years to get to this point. Even so, I have to remind myself that these milestones are just trivial issues compared to the ultimate issue at hand: health. Although I would love to go back to school and be able to see my friends in person, safety is the most important matter that should take priority above all. For now, I will just settle with what I have and use the wonders of technology to make the most of my last year in high school and with the people around me (virtually, of course).
Tenafly High School