By ALICIA KRUEGER
I woke up late, as usual, to a notification on my phone telling me that the Dow had fallen around 2,300 points on the morning of Thursday, March 12. Irrelevant information for me, but it set the mood for the rest of my day. I got dressed, slipped out my front door and into Safeway all before 7:30 a.m.
Keeping my head low, I rushed out trying to avoid any human contact, but failed as I looked up to see a woman dressed in white canvas with latex gloves and a big, black gas mask. Apocalyptic and unsettling, right?
My first two periods were filled with discussion of COVID-19. Rumors circulated campus about school being shut down, but I was too concerned with my after-school dive meet to pay much attention. While my classmates headed home after school, I headed to the pool. Blind to what was being discussed in a school board meeting or the teachers prepping for online school, I spent four hours jumping off a board into water.
Ignorance is bliss.
My coach interrupted my oblivion by calling a post-competition meeting and telling us through tears that our season was to be canceled until further notice. But even through the swollen eyes and disappointed goodbyes, reality hadn’t set in.
I spent that night out at a restaurant with my friends, followed by a sleepover and then a carefree weekend as it seemed that literally all of my responsibilities had disappeared for the time being. No school, no sports, no random internship, nothing. Everyone kept telling me that this would be the chance to find myself or develop a new passion. I was told that it would be a chance to catch up on school work or on that ACT studying I’ve been putting off and, at first, it was. At first, I was really excited.
Online school started Wednesday, March 18, so I woke up at the crack of dawn, also known as 11:35 a.m., to start my work. Clearly, productivity was dead from the start. But I did honestly enjoy working at my own pace and on my own schedule. I was doing what I was supposed to do. I spent time outside hiking and going on runs with my sisters, and I tried to develop a schedule that was “highly recommended.”
Within the following two days, I think the excitement of online school finally wore off and I was left alone with absolutely nothing but my thoughts. That Friday, the twentieth, I finally sat down with myself and I really, really thought about what all of this meant.
What I realized was nothing short of depressing. It felt like everything that I wanted to achieve this spring could no longer be achieved. The work I put into dive or my AP classes or my April ACT had either been canceled or postponed indefinitely.
My eyes started to tear up as I realized that I was promised this time. I was promised the last months as a 16-year-old to learn, to grow, to experience. As insignificant as they may be to the grand scheme of things, they matter, and, right now, they’re everything to me. It felt like that time had been stolen.
The following weekend was a reflection of my Friday night realization. The fact that I lay in my bed on Saturday night listening to music and staring at a wall was a punch in the face. I spent my time reading, listening to music, eating, and crying. Yup, depressing.
I kept asking myself, “Why do you care so deeply about things that can so easily be taken away?”
My friends felt similarly and confessed to asking themselves similar questions. I continue to ask myself this question, although my answer constantly changes. And from that, more questions arise and many go unanswered.
I don’t know what good will come out of this time for myself and for students similar to me–maybe my inner philosopher will emerge. As all my quarantine days merge into one long, never-ending 24 hours, I can only hope that something of substance can emerge from this, and for now, I am truly committed to doing what I can to help lower the curve.