For many people, life before we were shackled to our homes had been quite repetitive, and at times, even hectic. With AP tests looming over the horizon, my time before quarantine was filled with nonstop activity. Homework assignment after homework assignment was piled onto my plate, deadlines were beginning to stack on top of each other, and every single day was blending into one giant melting pot of work. For working adults, this routine was probably a fact of life.
For a while, Covid-19 was just the latest story in the news. Throughout January, February, and even the first few days of March, I read about the coronavirus as a curious spectator, sympathetic to those affected by it yet apathetic to the prospect of it ever reaching my town’s doorstep. Online and in the news, Covid-19 was a swirling hurricane of death and disaster. But it was only mentioned occasionally in conversation in my own life, without any seemingly tangible effects.
But this time, this surreal virus ended up reaching our doorsteps. Over a few weeks, nearly every school and every nonessential workplace across the United States was shut down. The prospect of a coronavirus shutdown shifted from an unfathomable fantasy to a “when and how long is it going to last” question within a week.
While staying inside our homes for the next weeks or months seemed like a harsh transition from our ways of life, it was also a pause on the continuous cycle of work and learning that most of us had been part of. I began to feel as though our quarantine time at home could be used as an opportunity to reset and relax. Even though the cause of the quarantine has killed over a hundred thousand people already, I think that when possible, we should try to use this time of isolation to help ourselves grow.
For different people, that means different things. For some people, that may mean finally starting a Netflix show on their neglected watch-list; for others, it may be taking up a new craft or hobby. I’ve been spending a lot more time writing novels and short stories, something that I’ve always enjoyed and have loved doing throughout my life, but never on the scale of investment that this opportunity has presented.
While the looming presence of the coronavirus scares us with its incrementing case and death statistics and by the media cycle that is constantly putting us on edge, sometimes it is worth looking inside our own homes and ourselves to see what we can do to make ourselves better. While life is paused for us outside, at work, school, restaurants and public spaces, it is only accelerating within ourselves if we take the time to invest. And that’s precisely what I’ve been trying to do. Even though I enjoy having time to do nothing, or pursuing mindless endeavors like watching Youtube videos, my goal in quarantine is to make myself a much better person walking out than the one I was going in.
Sophomore - Los Altos High School
credit: Gavin Cartier