Haleigh Nichols, Ansley Peeler, Lucy Hicks, Jonah Bolden:
We all had our expectations for senior year. We thought we’d have prom; we thought we’d have our senior sports seasons; we thought we would walk across the stage at graduation. We thought we would get our senior prank day; our overnight Six Flags trip; our senior skip day; our homecoming to our elementary schools. We worked harder than anyone expected. There were so many late nights, skipped lunches, stressing over finals, and sitting through the eight hour ACT, all so that we could get to senior year and graduate. But, our experience was cut short. Nothing is as we thought it would be. Nothing is how it was supposed to be. We were looking forward to all of it. We miss our friends, even those we couldn’t stand in class. And now, it’s over. We very well may have spent our last day in a classroom with our classmates and didn’t even know it.
Well, Distance Learning isn’t as bad as it sounds. I’m still allowed to go outside as of right now, and hangout with a few of my friends before we start the lockdown. Today, I went hiking with some of my senior friends since we don’t know the next time we will see each other. It is really sad to see this is how they end their senior year, but Heritage is beyond grateful for the class of 2020. We went to Raccoon Mountain and all had a blast! I hope all of the seniors are doing well, and will still be celebrated no matter what. I know all of my senior friends are very concerned, but know I’m always here for them. We had a great time today, and it made the quarantine a little bit easier.
During a time when an unthinkable becomes thinkable, during a time when fiction turns into reality, during a time when impossible becomes possible, I cannot help myself from thinking about two things: Beatles and Franklin Roosevelt. More specifically, Beatles’ “Let it Be”, and FDR’s first inauguration speech. Those of you who are familiar with them will know why I found them relevant in times like these. Those who are not familiar, I urge you to listen to them.We are living in times of trouble when there seems to be no way out. But, it is imperative to remember that “there will be an answer. Let it be”. And during times like these, we must remember that we will get through this. One way or another. We live in scary and uncertain times. But, we should never live in fear. We must be vigilant and follow the guidelines. However, fear does not help anyone. It only exacerbates an already precarious situation. We must not fear this virus. We must not fear anyone. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
We can decide how we will be remembered. History has its eyes on us. How we act, what decisions we make, no matter how miniscule it seems, will determine how we will be remembered. Will we adhere to federal guidelines and follow Social Distancing? Or will we ignore those guidelines with an asinine attitude that is fraught in our generation that says, “If coronavirus kills me, it kills me.” For anyone who does not believe anyone said this, I urge them to listen to the College kids who went down to Florida because Spring Break supersedes everything, even the safety of literally everyone. There are also instances of people licking toilet seats, coughing on produces, intentionally coughing on people(which could be charged as terrorism now). To those idiots, when karma catches up with them, I will personally write a letter to the hospitals, asking that their healthcare coverage be denied. With all this going on, it is easy to forget that we have impeached the leader of our country little over a month ago! Since the end of the Civil War, We have never been this divided as a country. We must always hold the powerful accountable and keep them honest. But, this is not the time for partisan acrimony. We must move together as a country united, or fall divided.
So, how will history remember us?
Since the start of the “coronacation.” I’ve realized many, many things that I would’ve never discovered without the outrageous amount of hours in isolation. For example, I could never do online schooling because I can’t learn this way. It’s just not something that I have motivation for and it’s very frustrating for me and my teachers. To say that I’m behind on work is an understatement and I won’t realize how behind I am until grades start being put in. Just recently, I’ve decided that I can’t avoid school work forever and it has to be done at some point. Instead of spending 30 to 40 minutes on each class per day, I spend hours catching up on work that I could’ve easily done the day of. What I do with my time instead of working, you ask? The answer is “anything else”: I sleep, watch Netflix, and eat. I’ve also learned that I really, really miss being in school and having human contact. I haven’t seen my best friends in almost a month, and it’s just now really hitting me how I won’t be able to see them for another month because of the shelter-in-place rule. In addition to all of this, I’ve been able to spend time with my family, see times of the day that I haven’t seen before, and experience things that I otherwise wouldn’t have ever experienced had it not been for this pandemic. I myself am a night owl and always have been but without having anywhere to be but home, the sleep schedule that I used to have is just out the window. I’ve watched the sun come up countless times, listened to the natural silence of the night, and sat in the dark to experience how calm the world is without human intervention. All of this goes to say this; get out of your own head and don’t wait until the last minute to do your work. Just because we aren’t physically in school doesn’t mean that it’s an early summer because it’s not. It’s still school and you still need to do it if you want to pass.
Let’s start from the beginning of the madness, Thursday, March 12, 2020. It was on this day that we were told we would not return to school until after spring break, which was April 6th. The Wednesday before, I was told that my spring break trip to Nicaragua had been cancelled. This would have been my first time going, and I had many people help me get the money to make it possible for me to go. I was excited to go because I was going to be able to grow closer to the girls I spend all football season with. I wanted to meet the families in Tomas Borge and return with the different outlook people who previously went through. This was not the only trip of mine that got cancelled. The Friday after the school closing was announced, I was supposed to be going to Pigeon Forge, TN for a quick weekend trip. My mom and I had looked forward to getting away, plus shopping, for weeks. Little did we know, we would not be able to get away for a long time.
Now while many things have gotten cancelled, and there has been a lot of disruption, I managed to find some peace with this situation. For weeks, I had been spending time with Trey, my boyfriend. He would come over and throw football with my sister and me, and since my mom works at Michaels, she got us some canvases, coloring books, and paint by numbers to pass the time. She even included Trey in her purchases, and he would come over and paint with us. One day, we tie-dyed shirts, and they surprisingly turned out really good! It was a good system we had going. We still got to see each other and each other’s families. I also felt that during this time I was growing closer to my family. My sister is four years younger than me, but we’ve found things we have in common and have been able to spend a good amount of time together. We mostly spend time making TikToks together or riding our penny board (which we just learned how to do).
Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse. While there were good things about this situation, there were plenty of negatives as well. On March 26th, I was scheduled to get my braces off. I have had them on for two years and four months. I’m sure you can imagine how eager I was to finally have them off. I had also made plans to get my hair chopped off once they announced that prom was being cancelled (or rescheduled). The day they announced it, I told my parents I was ready to cut my hair, but at this point the situation had gotten too serious. They said it wasn’t safe for me to go to the hair salon. I wasn’t surprised, and I knew it was the right decision, but I was a little upset. The situation was getting so serious that the governor decided to put the state on lockdown. This lock down would start on April 3rd and end on the 15th. At least that’s how it started. At the time of writing this, the lockdown is set to end on the 30th. Since my parents are responsible and want to keep us safe, they have not let my sister or I leave the house since the official lockdown started. I have now gone three weeks without seeing Trey or anyone besides my mom, dad, and sister. This was also the first Easter I can remember that we haven’t spent with my grandparents, and this is the first time I haven’t been to the Easter service at my church, which I look forward to every year. Not only did Easter stink because I missed my family, and my church, but there were also damaging tornadoes. I am not a fan of storms, especially tornadoes. Easter Day opened my eyes to how bad things had truly gotten. Everything seemed to be going wrong, and I couldn’t even think of an explanation as to why. Due to the storms, we were given a week off of school. School even gets cancelled when it’s online!! Speaking of, I have actually enjoyed online school. I like the flow of it. Teachers assign work at the beginning of the week, and you are supposed to have it done by the end of the week. I no longer felt like my assignments were piling up; I could finally breathe. Not only that, but my teachers have been really great about corresponding with me. They have offered a lot of help and have been very understanding. I will be ready to see my teachers in person again next year though. There are a lot of things I am looking forward to after this virus runs its course.
Not everything is bad, and fortunately, I’ve been able to find some positives. Ever since the official lockdown, one way that Trey and I have been able to “spend time together” is by watching movies over Facetime. We are currently watching all of the Avengers movies, in the order of when the events occurred, not the order in which they were released. Some of the movies I had never seen before, but a lot of it is starting to make more sense.
Boredom. That is all I can possibly think of to describe my quarantine experience. I enjoy interaction with other human beings, so I’m not a big fan of the distance learning protocol. This also changes all the plans we had for the yearbook. We won’t be able to obtain the information and quotes that we need. As a student, this whole distance learning thing is very confusing. I wake up to my phone blowing up with email after email or google classroom notifications galore. I’ve really learned to appreciate school. I can’t even imagine how difficult this has to be on teachers, creating lesson plans and having to flush any pre-existing plans down the drain. This really does put a strain on students as well as teachers. On the bright side, I do work-based learning so I only have two classes to complete. I then have a lot of free time. I use that time to do random things, such as clean my mini-fridge and move it into my room. I also decided to see how many episodes of my favorite anime I could watch. I’m at 102 episodes at the moment. I use a lot of my time to plan out and think of my future. I ask myself things such as: Where do I want to go to college, do I want to go to college, where do I see myself in 5 to 10 years. I spend time with my family, because we never know how long we have left with anyone so I’m trying to work on spending time with all of my family. Music, music has been a big part of my quarantine. I’ve listened to a lot of new artists and songs that I really enjoy. When it comes to music I recommend branching out, most music is better than rap. In conclusion, the quarantine isn’t fun, but it really depends on what you make of it. Will you be miserable, or find ways to enjoy this time and make the most of it.
As everyone knows, there’s a virus going around. This virus is getting around very quickly, and it is highly contagious. Because of this, everyone is required to stay in their homes as much as possible. All of this is because of Corona, or COVID-19 it is also called. Some people are pretty upset about this.
To be quite honest, when this quarantine first started, I was not staying in my home all of the time. Although, the only other place I would go to besides my house was to my best friend, Diya’s house, and drive-thrus with her. Besides that, I have been staying in my home as much as possible now. Some people don’t really see this virus as a big deal, but I am beginning to see how serious it is and how big it is becoming. Although, I do think that some people might be over exaggerating about it a bit.
This quarantine may be a bummer to some but not necessarily for me. I am a natural introvert and homebody, so I don’t mind at all being at home and by myself for a long period of time. I would like some company sometime though, and I do get that. I have been able to spend a lot more time with my mom and brother, who I both live with. It is quite nice to be able to spend more quality time with them with it being that I don’t have to be at school for almost eight hours every weekday.
I have been doing a few things during this quarantine, and it has been very fun and healthy for me. Recently, I downloaded an app called Spoon, which is an app for people to stream or, in other words. “go live.” I have met many great people on this app, and I have been able to spread my talent and hobby of singing and playing guitar throughout the world to different people. Spoon has encouraged me to be proud of who I am even more than I was before, and it has also made me a lot more open with my talents. I have also been eating a lot of food. Of course I have. I always eat a lot of food, but now that we have so much food at home, it has caused me to feel like I’m gonna GAIN SOME. I have been cooking eggs, and adding hot sauce and cheese to them. That may sound gross, or weird to some people, but let me just say: It is AMAZING.
COVID-19 Quarantine has honestly been treating me quite well and hasn’t been that bad. I believe that for the people that are upset, bored at home, and worried, that we are all going to be fine. We are currently living in a history lesson for the future, which is quite insane. Once this is all over, we will get to go back to normal life, living free without worry.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a TON of limitations and restrictions on most people. If you haven’t noticed by now, they closed all schools and most restaurants that use inside dining. It hasn’t really affected my daily life (except for going to school). I don’t dine out that much but when we do, it’s usually drive-thru anyway. To keep myself sane, I have been mainly watching YouTube, Netflix, Disney Plus, and I recently got into “The Masked Singer” on FOX. When I’m not watching shows or movies, I play “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” on my Nintendo Switch. School work is actually rarely a problem for me; most teachers are doing review work. Some of it feels like busy work or something to post to keep our spirits up. I have actually been outside a lot, enjoying the weather (when it’s not a torrential downpour) since we rarely get the opportunity to go outside at school. Most mornings I wake up and do my school work, which takes anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour. Once I do that, I get some breakfast and turn on YouTube, but I always find a video before I eat because that’s the rules, duh. Quarantine has really impacted our day-to-day life as well as our social life, forcing us to call people instead of seeing people. We have to use technology to get closer together after years of being told not to rely on technology to communicate, to go outside and talk to people. Society has been forever changed due to COVID-19.
In the weeks leading up to this break from school, I was having the average teenage life. However, as the weeks continued, as cases of the coronavirus increased, and as its distance from Catoosa County grew smaller, fear began to set in. I, being a very skeptical person, didn’t think that it was going to escalate. I was paying more attention to the number of fatalities, rather than the speed it was spreading. In fact, I don’t think I was really worried until a friend of mine’s mom called. She works in the school system, and she had just finished up at a mandatory meeting for the school she teaches at. My friend put her on speaker, and we both listened as she told us that we needed to prepare for the worst as far as school came. She explained that schools would be shutting down soon, and she said that she had “already recorded her lessons for the next four weeks.” At this point, I still wasn’t that nervous, but then a few more days into that same week, school was called off until April 16th. I still assumed everyone was overreacting, including my mom who hasn’t let me leave my house since then, with a few exceptions.
At this moment, March 24th, I have been inside for many days, other than the occasional nature walk or car ride. Therefore, I have had a lot of my time to be on my phone looking at social media. Although this virus has been terribly tragic, I can’t help but assume that it was meant to happen. To elaborate: there has been a plague in every set of “20s” for almost every century. The Great Plague of Marseille began in 1720, The Cholera Outbreak began in 1820, The Spanish Flu began in 1920, and now, The Coronavirus in 2020. This is a pattern that I simply cannot ignore. Along with this pattern, the effects of the coronavirus on earth has been measurable. Though the actual virus isn’t what’s impacting the earth, things have changed since cities began going on lockdown. For example, China has a huge sum of reduced pollution, Thailand’s monkeys have been roaming free in the streets, same for Japan, but with deer, Venice’s once extremely polluted canals are now almost crystal clear, and dolphins are beginning to come up to Italy’s coasts like they did at one point. However, those are just things around the world, not so much here. Although it isn’t a massive thing, I’ve noticed a new respect for the world around us. When I went on a nature trail with my mom a few days ago, the grass was greener because it was unbothered.
In my opinion, I think that the world needs this virus, even though the timing is slightly annoying. I know that it’s going to be hard to get things done from home, but as long as everyone keeps up with their work, it shouldn’t be that difficult. I haven’t been perfect with my assignments, but I’ve been close because I’ve made sure to not procrastinate. I believe that regardless of your religion, this is the world hitting the pause button of us so that she can heal herself.