Throughout my time attending school, I had mixed feelings about it. I would enjoy some days, but I usually didn’t want to go. I resented the start of the school year because I had to meet new people and start learning again. But I would get sad at the end of the school year because I wouldn’t see my friends for two months. I’d have days where I loved school and wanted the break or weekend to end faster, and there were days when I felt the complete opposite. In 2020, everything changed.
Once things started to get out of hand, the government told us we would have a two-week quarantine. We weren’t allowed to leave our house until further notice. Of course, that was before it became more serious. I was one of the many excited people. About halfway through our two-week quarantine, we were told that schools were going to be closed for the rest of the year. That was one of the best things I’d ever heard.
I hate to say it, but I enjoyed the start of quarantine. Even though I couldn’t do anything big to celebrate my birthday, staying inside was fun. I’m a big introvert, so this was the best way to avoid interactions and awkward happy birthday songs. Little did I know that this lockdown would damage my communication skills.
I thought I would’ve been fine at home. It was the same schedule every day: get up, shower, get ready for classes on Zoom. Do any house chores and homework I have, and then have the rest of the day to myself. Cars didn’t waste any gas, I was learning to cook more food for myself, and my grades didn’t get any worse. I didn’t see anything wrong with life besides the fact that there was a deadly virus that was killing everyone that wasn’t gonna go away soon.
Sometimes, my family would ask me if I’d want to go back to in-person school, and my answer was always “Pfft. Absolutely not!” I didn’t like interacting with people a lot, and I thought this was the best thing ever.
Eventually, the repetition of my schedule started to get to me. I was going “insane” because there was no change. The quarantine that I thought I enjoyed was not fun at all. I could barely get out of bed, and I missed getting out of the house. After the end of my seventh-grade year was done, I was on “summer vacation.” I was still in my house and barely saw my extended family. The opportunities to see them were rare. I had no care for the start of eighth grade. I wasn’t going to be seeing anyone face to face, so what was the point?
It started off boring with the same schedule as expected. My grades were better than I predicted considering I wasn’t as motivated about school. I started fine, but I began slacking in my last semester. I would play video games while in class. I would be paying more attention to books or my phone than the actual class. I wouldn’t feel as bad about cheating as I did in the beginning. That was the only way I could avoid doing the same thing over and over.
Almost everything that was taught in eighth grade was gone from my mind. I wasted an entire school year for nothing. It was unclear what was homework and what was classwork. I barely talked during virtual school, and that didn’t help with the fact that I didn’t like talking. Covid protocols became more lenient. So moments when I would go out, I barely spoke. I came off as unapproachable, which I didn’t want at all.
When I graduated eighth grade, it wasn’t anything special. We still couldn’t have large gatherings, I wouldn’t get my awards in person. My summer was better, though. I went out more often and didn’t stay in the house. I went on a family trip to Vermont to enjoy nature and spend time with everyone. Then, when the school year got closer, I was told I’d have to go in person. I was against it. I didn’t want to go back to in-person learning despite how much I hated virtual learning. But I’m glad I didn’t have the option to do virtual. My freshman year of high school, so far, was the best year that’s ever happened to me.
I was out of the house every day; I interacted with people more even though it took two months to get used to it. By the end of the school year, I wasn’t “afraid”, and I wasn’t as antisocial as I was before. I enjoyed school. Here I was at the start of quarantine celebrating the fact that I didn’t have to talk to people. Science and this experience has proven that we need human interaction. When I went back in person and enjoyed my first year of high school, I realized how much I needed people.
I gained some weight from not exercising and eating more than usual during quarantine. Then I lost way too much from not eating enough because I had lost my appetite. My room was messy too often. It’s difficult to break those habits even after finding a way to go against them, but I’m much more motivated now.
I thought quarantine was the best thing ever, but that wasn’t true. I enjoyed school the entire time. I enjoyed interacting with people. There was one time when I had to stay home for a week because of an injury. I was not happy to hear the doctors tell me that. When the time came, I was excited to go back out.
In a way, I’m glad quarantine happened. Without it, I probably wouldn’t have this mindset of me realizing how much I need others and don’t need to remain independent.