Upon hearing that school would transition to online school for a period of two weeks, everyone in my class started making TikToks and completely dropping all school assignments.
Little did we know that two weeks would extend to five weeks and those five weeks extended to the end of the school year.
On my last day of junior year, March 13, it felt like any other day. It was a day packed with important tests with a frequent sprinkle of COVID-19 related conversations.
At this point, many high schoolers, including myself, suspected that school would be transitioning to online school as we were all following the news very carefully.
Our suspicions were not completely accurate though because we thought we would see each other in two short weeks.
March 13 was my last day of junior year and although it was cut short and drastically impacted, I’m still grateful that I can stay safe at home with the people that I love during this pandemic.
When school first announced that we were transitioning to online school, I thought that it was a two-week quarantine and did not find it necessary to establish a routine. I had no motivation to be productive.
The first two weeks of quarantine began with waking up way too late. I would wake up at 11 in the morning and get absolutely nothing done. I would join Zoom calls wearing a normal shirt but still secretly wearing pajama shorts. It was definitely the pajamas that made me feel lazy.
Now that it’s been a month since I have been quarantining, this extra time has allowed me to take life slowly and embrace the small moments.
With so many non-essential places closed, it has made me focus on the simple aspects of my life that I had been too busy to appreciate. Cal Matters explains how essential services include gas stations and restaurants, but nowhere on the list does it mention “mall complex.”
Before quarantine, a trip to the mall was a must. Hanging out with friends was a necessity. As I’ve been social distancing for a month now, it has made me realize the essentials in my life.
Family, education and healthy food are essential in my life right now. Movie theaters have been closed for several weeks now, allowing thousands of individuals to realize and embrace the real necessities in life.
After being in quarantine for one month and counting, my mental and physical health have been consistent with my health before beginning social distancing.
Now that I’ve been quarantined for over five weeks, I have established a routine that allows me to feel refreshed, both mentally and physically.
Although I can no longer attend dance class in person, I’m still able to attend the dance lessons on Zoom. I’ve also been taking advantage of our treadmill at home.
I’m notoriously slow at running, but I have been building up my endurance and I have been able to run so much faster lately with my set routine.
In regards to my overall mental health, I have been making the most out of the lemons. Even as life is throwing us quarantine lemons, I have learned to make lemonade out of this situation.
I’ve been happy and staying positive with my family, even if some events and big aspects of our lives were canceled.
It’s okay to not always be productive. Breaks are energizing and sleeping for 8-10 hours is encouraged. Before the quarantine, I was already big on mental health.
I’ve always been a positive, optimistic person, but I have friends who have been through so much and it’s important to me that I am here to comfort them in times like this.
During this time, I remind myself that checking in with friends and extended family is more important than ever. A quick FaceTime call means so much, especially when some of my friends might not be in their best state right now.
I have also had more time to pursue projects and hobbies that I have been eager to try. My ukulele was untouched for over three months but I have finally found time to learn a few songs.
I’ve also gone from struggling to make instant noodles to being able to make a professional birthday cake and always cooking breakfast in the morning now.
I’m also beyond grateful for those who are on the frontline helping the individuals who are battling COVID-19. With my nonprofit organization, Linens N Love, we are working on an initiative to donate masks to our community.
I’m 17 years old and I’m living in a pandemic. Coming out of this quarantine, I’m confident that my perspective on life will be so much different — I’ve learned that the essentials in life are right in front of me.