MAREESA ISLAM/GraniteBayToday.org file photo
We are living in unprecedented times in America — Covid-19 has shut the country down and triggered an astonishing economic collapse. But it’s also personal, and it’s being lived out in the homes of thousands of Granite Bay High students, faculty and staff. GraniteBayToday.org staffers and other students have been keeping journals reflecting on and reacting to what’s been happening during this crisis, and we are publishing some of the entries each week.
Stay strong, and wash your hands.
March 25 – It’s been almost a week since I’ve hung with any of my friends and I am starting to get really sad, but as well I’m reflecting about how serious this is. I’ve been trying to stay updated on what is the latest with the pandemic and it’s frustrating to know that people aren’t following social distancing rules which is putting others in jeopardy. It’s very interesting to see how some people can be so selfish during times like this. I also think most of us aren’t educated enough about the virus and people who aren’t social distancing don’t understand the effects of their actions. Hopefully this will end as soon as possible, but everyone needs to start contributing.
March 26- I found out today that the school isolation will be extended until May 1, and that many school districts have shut down for the rest of the school year. It’s looking like the same thing might happen soon to our school district. I look back to what might have been my last day of school and it’s sad to think about how uneventful it was. It was a midterm day and I spent a lot of it taking tests and not speaking a word to anybody. And that was one of my last opportunities to see a lot of different people I would’ve liked to be able to say an actual goodbye to.
March 25 – It was sort of a low-point last week, mid-week, but this week, I feel things are starting to change. Maybe I found more things to do besides sit in front of a computer screen or maybe I’m just getting used to the silence, but overall, I’m trying to make myself comfortable and more at peace of what’s happening. I heard from my friends that we’re starting to ride the exponential curve, so I pray everyone else who’s going under the same or worse circumstances than me, that they make it out OK and everything’s well. We can only be optimistic from here on out, nothing works if we’re fragmented.
March 26 – It’s almost been two weeks since our school moved all classes online until the end of spring break, and today we just found out school is now closed until May 1. I was honestly expecting this, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we stayed online for the rest of the school year, but it’s still very disappointing. To me, this news didn’t just mean I will be stuck at home for an additional three weeks, but also meant Powderpuff won’t happen, Senior Ball is cancelled, spring break will consist of solely Netflix and quarantine, and my senior year is practically over. I’m sad that all of this has to happen and I won’t get the senior year experience I was expecting, but I have to remind myself that every other senior in the world is going through this as well. Additionally, there are many individuals and families suffering much more from this pandemic than I am, and I am extremely grateful my family and friends are staying healthy and safe. For all the seniors, I understand how awful this feels, but I believe there’s hope and still so much to look forward to. Graduation in August doesn’t sound too bad, right? My class has some of the most hardworking, passionate, crazy talented and connected students I’ve ever met, and I know, no matter how disappointing it may be, we’ll find a positive way to make this year count.
March 25 – I’m still having a hard time adjusting to online school, which I did not expect whatsoever and yet here we are. So today I sat down and worked basically the entire day. Walked to the mailbox to collect the mail which was nice to get some fresh air. Every time I read the news it doesn’t feel real, honestly. I’m not entirely sure how to emotionally or mentally process a pandemic. But there’s one thing I feel strongly: frustration. Adapting to a new way of learning in the middle of the school year is harder than I expected. Worrying about whether or not I’ll get to have a graduation. Not having our nation’s administration actually leading our country or providing any solutions. Reading about the doctors and nurses that are unbelievably overworked, overrun and low on supplies. Nothing makes any sense these last few weeks, and I’m sick of it.
March 24 – I wrote an opinion piece today that helped me a lot mentally. I had a lot on my mind and kept thinking about things to the point I knew I had to do something to get out of my head. So, I did the thing I know best: write. I wrote two columns in under 10 minutes, which is impressive for me. But I knew I had to say what I had to say. I wrote about the compassion of humanity and the general lack thereof. I spoke about empathy and how we need to be more empathetic to those in need, how we need to recognize that this problem is about more than the individual. I’ve stopped being as sad about graduation and Senior Ball. I’ve even begun to realize that there will be an end to this madness. That things will return to normal, that everyone will be well again, that life will move on even if it doesn’t quite seem like it right now. I feel selfish that I still feel disappointment, and I have a feeling it’s not going away anytime soon.
March 26 – Today I found out that school isn’t opening up until any earlier than May. You might think that this would make me hopeful, but it doesn’t. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I was supposed to be able to dress up with my friends on prom night, supposed to wake up day after day and live out my final days of high school, supposed to walk up on stage and accept a diploma in front of my family. I’m supposed to go to work and make people sandwiches, and coffee and overpriced smoothies, most of all I’m supposed to be with my friends before we all go our separate ways after high school. I took all of these precious things for granted before this virus took over everyone’s lives. I guess complaining won’t get me anywhere, though, but nowadays it’s hard to be positive especially when all I have is time to think about how unfair all of this is. In the meantime, all I can do is think about and hope for the future, for a better less-quarantined future.
March 26 – It’s official. School won’t reopen until May 1. But I even have doubts about that. Just less than a month ago, everything was normal and as it should be, until, suddenly, the reality we know got ripped away from us. Who knows when I will be able to see my friends again, face to face, or greet my neighbors without a six-foot barrier.The last chance to experience high school before senior year is most likely over, and college acceptance tests are questionably mysterious due to COVID-19. I feel selfish as I know these concerns should be the least of my worries, so I am trying to focus my attention on what I should be thankful for: the health of my friends and family. I pray for those most affected to get better and overcome this unforeseen situation.
March 21 – I can no longer explain my feelings towards this virus. All I have been able to do today is reminisce on what my life was like before this all happened, what I have lost because of this virus. It hurts to know that my faith in humanity is beginning to stray. This feels unreal. Turning on the news is starting to be painful for me as all I see is our country falling apart because it’s in the hands of people who are incapable of saving us. Knowing that there are
individuals out there sacrificing their health for others because they don’t have the correct protection makes me feel so frustrated. Frustrated. This is the only word I can use right now. I want to blame someone, something, anything. It isn’t a matter of me being angry because of what I’ve lost anymore, it’s a matter of the feelings our society has and the voices going unheard. It’s as if nobody’s questions are able to be answered anymore. All we are surrounded by right now is the unspecified and something needs to change soon.
March 26 – When I envisioned my 18th birthday, I didn’t picture myself sitting at home under self-quarantine, but here I am. The day started off upsetting for me. I thought about what my day should’ve looked like today – I was supposed to go to school, work, the last Powderpuff practice before the game, and then to BJs for pizookies with my friends. But instead I sat inside my house, unable to do any of those things I wanted to do. I went about my day doing normal everyday things – I cleaned my room, did my homework, wandered around my house for a bit trying to find something to keep me busy. I kept thinking to myself, “This is the worst birthday ever,” and how unfair it was that I had to spend my day this way. But as the day progressed, I realized I have a lot to be grateful for. Right now, there are kids my age who might be homeless right now or not able to afford their next meal. Although I felt lonely today, and I didn’t expect it to go this way, my parents made sure the day was special for me despite all the uncertainty in the world and in our lives right now, and I am grateful for that.
March 24 – I had to go to school today to make up a midterm that I missed. My parents were concerned about me “breaking the quarantine,” but I barely interacted with two people. It felt kinda crazy to see my math teacher under the current circumstances. It was also just weird to go to the school and see it as kind of a shell of the hub that I typically view it as. I’ve hung out there on the weekends or during summer, but it’s just a whole different feeling when it’s a weekday and we should be in second period at that moment. Not only have I grown a great appreciation for my friends, but I’ve also gained such a large appreciation for school. I always thought of it as cheesy that they refer to school as a place for collaboration and cultivation of learning but it’s kinda true! I miss interacting with people and being able to have conversations with people that I don’t typically talk to. I could do that on social media, but it would just be weird and not the same as in person. I’d give anything to just have one more day of my junior year. I want a proper goodbye to everything!
March 23 – Today started off normal enough- I played Xbox with some friends and made a meal for brunch before watching Hulu. But I decided to do something different; I began a “Star Wars” marathon, starting with Episodes 1, 2, and 3. In times such as these, I find it important to focus on things that make me happy rather than the things I’m missing out on. I then watched the new episode of “Little Fires Everywhere” before watching YouTube and going to sleep.
March 25 – I want this virus eradicated, but I also want to be a part of society again. I want to have faith in our leaders and I want to trust them. And most of all, I want to feel like there’s a purpose again. Waking up to the same cycle of events makes every task completed or step outside lack fulfillment. I never imagined my senior year would end this way. Over the past few weeks, I’ve found the most difficult part of these circumstances has been the uncertainty. You want to believe there is hope that we are close. Close to a cure. Close to a vaccine. Close to the pitfall of the peak. And above all close to a shift back to some form of normalcy. But as more measures are taken and more voices are heard within the medical community, the end of the tunnel seems farther than we could ever hope for it to be. I think a lack of hope in the presence of uncertainty and fear has the potential to bring out the worst in humanity. As we crave change, I see how some resort to behaviors deemed hostile and disrespectful. Whether that’s fighting over supplies in the grocery store, or on the infamous NextDoor app. People are fighting because they are scared and because they want to be heard, but don’t know how to be. And what I mean by “people” is every single one of us.
March 24 – Today I did nothing. Again. But I somehow still feel like I don’t have enough time to do actual things. I’m so behind in my classes because school feels optional even though I know it’s not. I’m frustrated that we had to do all the hard and stressful stuff of senior year but we don’t get any of the fun and celebratory stuff. Everyone has worked so hard, and when we finally get to reap the benefits, the world literally comes crumbling down. It’s so self centered to think about how a worldwide pandemic is affecting my senior class but it is really affecting everyone badly. There isn’t a single person who hasn’t lost something, and it sucks for every single person. Some definitely have it worse than others, but I do think it’s OK to be sad about what’s been lost.
March 25 – Coronavirus has officially taken away another month of school. I feel like I shouldn’t get to complain because I’m lucky to have a healthy family, when so many others can’t say the same. Not seeing anyone has gotten very hard for me because I miss my friends, but staying safe and distancing myself from everyone is the only way to make this happen and hopefully go back to normal as soon as possible. I never thought I would be missing school but here I am, wishing this could go away. I’ve kept myself busy trying to look for jobs and having applications ready when I am able to interact with other people. Along with trying my best to stay productive, it also ends up in me getting about two hours of sleep.
March 21 – I went outside today, and I must say that it felt a lot more exhilarating than usual. It’s quite amusing to see how much more I have begun to value any time outside of my house over the course of this quarantine. Simply going out on a walk, taking in the warm sunlight of a glowing afternoon, and observing families (obviously at a distance) as they also creep out of their houses for the first time in seemingly ages has become beautiful. Although it may be difficult to see now in the midst of such an agonizingly restricting pandemic, I believe that it might be an experience that will allow us to truly recognize the beauty of the little things, value time with friends and the freedom to go out without the fear of catching a virus, and even appreciate the ability to go to school every day. As cliche as it might sound, everything happens for a reason.
March 22 – Boredom is not an easy obstacle to overcome. I’m lucky of course, seeing as I’m fortunate enough to have the things that I do that serve as objects for entertainment, but after a while they’ve lost their appeal. One can only watch so many random videos before they feel like they are going to make my brain melt. I have to find something else to do these days.
March 24 – A friend was supposed to come over and bake bread with me, but life got in the way. She didn’t come over. I miss human interaction. I’m not even allowed to hug my family members at home. I hate how similar the COVID-19 symptoms are to allergies. I woke up with a slightly sore throat this morning and panicked until I realized that I hadn’t taken my allergy medication the night before. My mind ran through worst-case scenarios before I had rational thought. What if I got it? What if I had the virus just incubating in me and I’ve already infected my very susceptible family members? I almost cried when the scratchy throat was gone less than an hour later after I had taken my allergy medication and eaten breakfast. School work isn’t enough to distract my brain from thinking about COVID-19 now. I miss people.
March 26 – Today was awful. I have no motivation. I got the email saying school was being pushed back more, and the reality of COVID-19 is really kicking in. I don’t know what I’m working toward because the future is so unperceivable and the end goals are so loosely defined. Instead, I try to distract myself with mindless television and reading books, but I’m afraid my mind will forget what paying attention feels like, what working hard and being social daily feels like. Today, the regular decision round of acceptance letters to my college went out, but I’m afraid no one will want to choose New York City because coronavirus cases are so awful there, and the estimated end date of the virus keeps being extended further and further back. NYC is being overwhelmed and looks like a ghost-town these days. I feel tentative not only about my senior year of high school, but also my whole freshman year of college. I just want this whole thing to be over.
March 24 It hadn’t started until today, but it feels like everything is blending together. I suppose it isn’t too dissimilar to a normal school week where I forgot what happened which day, but I can at least differentiate the dates. Stuck in my house constantly, I’m losing track of time and the date. It doesn’t feel right that my birthday was only two days ago, but here I am. I hope that this doesn’t turn into some form of dissociation for myself, as that would be the last thing I want.
March 24 – I keep seeing other students out with their friends and it drives me insane. I know that it’s hard to not go out with friends, but we are out of school for a reason. This isn’t an extra long Spring Break. We need to stay inside. I was talking to a friend of mine who was out at the lake with his friends. I told him that to stop the spread, we have to stay at home. He said he understood, but that it was hard, but he is also worried about his grandparents. It is hard for all of us. But, we ALL have to stay in to flatten the curve. I received a long text from my grandpa this morning. He is an 86-year-old man living alone, in Germany. I am so scared for him. He owns a bookstore, which is located under his house. He had to close it, which scares me because that is his livelihood. Part of the text to me said, “Today there were two policemen standing in front of the shop to check that it was closed.” Coronavirus is so scary. I hate this. Corona has ruined my senior year.
March 22 – After just getting back from the airport from San Diego, I cannot emphasize how dead everything was. In San Diego, home to some of the busiest streets in California, the traffic was dead. Of course there were those few cars along the freeway, but nothing nearly as congested as it typically is; think the I-80 East on a Wednesday at five in the morning. Dead. … My dad, being the friendliest man on Earth, decided to speak to some of the people who were flying with us. They were coming from Mexico. They had been on a vacation just as President Trump decided to close the borders coming into America because of the virus. The kind strangers told us it was shoulder-to-shoulder packed; if there had been an emergency, no one could have possibly made it out alive.