March 23, 2020-March 27, 2020
The circumstances that so many people across all nations are witnessing and/or experiencing, feel almost surreal, leaving us to wonder what might happen next. I find myself concerned with how the situation can possibly escalate any further, which has led to many thoughts with dead ends. I find fear is the most common emotion that I experience, despite not being within the higher-risk demographics. I do not necessarily fear for myself, but for the many people around the world, who find themselves closer to the virus that torments us, or the people who may be placed in that position in the soon-to-come years.
My mother recently visited my father in Buffalo, New York, this past week, as she had to drive our three dogs and our cat up there, so that our home here could be prepped to be sold. In her time there, she had to drive my oldest brother, Peter, across the border into Canada, so that he could return to his home in Toronto before the borders closed. In this time, she stopped in to visit my grandparents, at their home on Lake Ontario. My grandparents are the subject of a majority of my fear. They are both almost 89 years old, and their life has continued moving, regardless of the ever-growing panic in the world. My intention over spring break was to visit them, however, the border’s closing has skewed these plans. With their age, each visit is cherished. I just find it difficult to think that with so many factors of their life making them so susceptible to the virus; this visit could’ve been my last for them. I last saw them in September for a family wedding, and yet, it does not feel like I’ve done or said enough for them. Times like these remind us all of the mortality of humans.
Many students have expressed a certain disappointment in the likely cancellation of prom and many end of year events, but I remain grounded by the concept that these are small moments, and to lose prom is so incredibly far from how it feels to lose your chance at life, or to lose someone you love. I feel that members of my generation have used this event to display our self-centered tendencies and truly express how out of touch we are from the emotions felt worldwide. We worry about whether or not our prom dresses will go to waste and chose to ignore the death of a 17 year old in South Korea, who was turned away by medical professionals, or the 15,410 deaths.
I do not pass off all of my fellow students or members of my generation as selfish and naive, but a fair number do not seem to comprehend the greater impact that this pandemic has caused, whether through economic declines or the mass xenophobia exhibited within not only our nation, but many others. We fall upon dark days, some even darker than our nights, and yet we seem to be resistant to shifting our own spotlight off of ourselves, when we could light the world up.
Anonymous, Class of 2020
Monday, March 23, 2020
Today, I tried to distract myself from boredom by working on “enrichment activities,” as the teachers are calling all of their assignments, as it is against this new policy to grade any work completed while schools are closed. I only got more distracted around 2 pm when Governor Northam ordered all schools in the state to close for the remainder of the year. Texts and messages through Snapchat came flooding in, keeping me occupied on my phone by consoling friends who were the most upset, while almost everybody began grieving for seniors, who saw dwindling possibilities of prom and graduation not being cancelled. Seniors began posting on Instagram pictures from their school career, many diving deep into the archives of their kindergarten photos to tell their journey and how they have changed, warning underclassmen not to take their high school experience for granted, as our class had. We all realized that we had walked the halls for the very last time in our lives on Thursday, March 12, 2020, without even knowing it. Today, for many seniors, it seemed like the world was ending.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
This weather is making it even harder not to succumb to boredom and depression like all the officials are warning against, but I’m finding ways to entertain myself. Another day of doing one or two school assignments is down the drain, but being home is making it much easier to eat healthier and exercise. Today, my sister and I practically convinced my mom to buy a dog now that we’ll be home to take care of it most of the time. I think today the report came out about the first time that there have been 100 deaths in a single day in the country from the coronavirus. I’m doing my part to stay inside, except for when we need groceries. I got up before 7 this morning to get to Kroger early because the store had just restocked, but I got to the store and figured out that it was the one-hour shopping period from 7 to 8, when those most at risk were only allowed to shop, but they still let me in, although an older man did point out the fact that I do not look like I am 60. My frustration is mounting over those in my generation who are still choosing to go out every single day, either to Belle Isle or other places nearby, contributing to the spread of this virus, yet they are the ones complaining about everything being closed. If everyone could just stay home, we all could go out sooner.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Live AP review sessions started today on YouTube; I watched most of the AP Lit review, all of Calc AB, and just a few minutes of the government review. None of them were very helpful, and it also wasted a lot of time that I could’ve been using to finish school assignments, so I don’t think I will tune in tomorrow for the next ones. Spent a lot of today looking for puppies for sale, but our chances of getting a dog seem to be diminishing as my mom thinks about the logistics of it all. The weather was bleak once again. I miss sitting outside and doing my work. Got on the treadmill again and went pretty far, so maybe I don’t have exercise-induced asthma after all. Nervous for tomorrow because most of the colleges I’ve been waiting to hear from are releasing their decisions.
Thursday, March 26, 2020
I heard a saying today that I think encapsulates the spread of the coronavirus in the US: New York City is the canary in the coal mine (referring to the declaration that the city is the epicenter of cases in the country). The most frustrating thing currently is that it seems like no one in the country is taking this seriously, and even though I’m doing my part with staying home, the number of cases in the country just passed the number of cases in China, and the people that have the ability to do something to stop this trend lack enthusiasm for the cause. On the bright side, the school district just posted a video on YouTube to ease fears that seniors have, saying that graduation has not been canceled yet, and we will have some sort of ceremony to celebrate this accomplishment. On a personal level, today was just the same as the past few: finished some assignments for AP Lit and AP Calc, but spent some time relaxing and watching Breaking Bad on Netflix. The college decisions that I have been waiting for finally came out: was denied from Duke, Princeton, Dartmouth, Columbia, Yale, and UPenn, but I got admitted to my top-choice, University of Southern California. Really hoping I can go there, but it entirely depends on financial aid.
Friday, March 27, 2020
Took the day off today; I’m saying that as if I actually had to do anything any other day, but it felt nice to just take a break. Spent some time sitting out on the deck watching Netflix on my computer because the weather finally improved. I haven’t looked at the news since yesterday, but it seems like each new day becomes “the worst day yet,” as Lester Holt says, for the number of new cases and number of new deaths related to the virus. I will admit that it did feel nice to not pay attention to the news for a day; I can’t do anything but stay home, which I’m already doing. It was a pleasant night, though. We ordered pizza from Chanello’s to help support a local restaurant (as the county government suggests). I found out I didn’t get into Stanford, which I wasn’t upset about at all due to yesterday’s news, and just spent the night binge-watching Breaking Bad. I think our cats are getting tired of us being around all the time.
Over the last month, everything in society has essentially turned upside down. People have gone from busy and chaotic lives to quarantining themselves at home. However, not all participate in this [public health warning] because they think they are immune. This [includes] the young generations because information was originally spread that they will not really be harmed by the virus. They are going out to various places to spend time with their friends as if this is a school vacation for partying. They are putting individuals who are more susceptible to the disease further at risk by potentially spreading the disease further. They seem more concerned with their own lives instead of thinking about others. I think this comes from the impact of technology and social media present throughout our lives that generations before us have not experienced.
Even though technology may have altered our perceptions, it has given us the opportunity to come together during this difficult time. It is a reminder that we are not going through this alone. People have taken this devastating situation and turned it into opportunities to spread love and cheer. Social media icons and singers are utilizing their talents to keep people entertained with comedy skits, mini concerts, and more. Good news social media accounts are sharing videos of people around the world helping out their communities or trying to spread positivity. In some strange way, I feel that the world is more connected than ever before.
School has been canceled for the rest of the year. Normally at this time of year, seniors would have senioritis and wish for school to be over. That is not the case this year. All the seniors are crying that school is over. We were looking forward to so many memories that were supposed to happen in the next few months. The major life moments of senior prom and graduation were stripped away from us. We never got the chance to say goodbye to all of our friends and teachers on the last day of school because we had no idea that it would be our last day. We were born out of the tragedy of 9/11, and now the world faces another tragedy of COVID-19 during our senior year of high school in 2020.
Anonymous, Class of 2020
March 23, 2020
Due to the growing worldwide pandemic COVID-19, I had to quit my job for the next few weeks until everything dies down in Virginia.
One of the customers where I worked came to the fountain and was talking to me about how she had just been to New York, one of the worst areas in the U.S. due to the coronavirus, for a week, and she spoke about this trip in a very nonchalant manner. People who are traveling and continue with their usual unnecessary routines are only furthering this issue and making it harder for people to return to their daily lives and jobs. Traveling in a time of emergency like this is extremely stupid, and people who choose to put themselves at risk by doing so should stay put in their homes and not affect others with their poor judgement.
Now that I am no longer working, which is where I spent a lot of my time due to having no school, there is absolutely nothing to do besides schoolwork, sleep, movies/TV, games, and clean. I have cleaned a lot of my house out of boredom, and my dad offered to pay me to do it since I am unable to work.
I’ve heard rumors that the first semester of college at Virginia Tech, the school I will attend next year, may beonline, which is a scary thought. If this pandemic continues into the fall, I’m not sure how our world will recover. The economy is crashing, and it is affecting all people. My dad said that he has lost a great deal of money in retirement funds due to the current stock market issues. If this continues, it could affect my ability to pay for college, as all that money is currently in accounts that are suffering largely due to COVID-19.
Hopefully, soon there will be some sort of medical breakthrough, or the virus will die down and become less prominent. One of my friends who spoke with a science teacher about the pandemic said that if the death rates continue to escalate at their current curve, the world can expect 300 million deaths by the time the COVID-19 wave retreats from our world. If this were to be true, the repercussions would be astronomical. We are still far away from the end of this pandemic, and no one quite knows what will happen next.
Ashley Manheim, Class of 2020
The last couple weeks have been filled with many ups and downs and an overall sense of uncertainty in the world. This week has been one of the most hectic weeks because it was announced that all of the schools in Virginia will be closed for the rest of the year. It was a very sad time for myself and all of my peers because we realized that we may not see some of our friends ever again. There was no way of telling that our last day at Midlothian High School would be our last day walking those halls maybe ever. With this announcement also came the uncertainty of the fate of events that seniors look forward to like their senior prom and graduation ceremony. On Monday, March 23rd, my work sent out the fifth schedule revision in the past three days, making the announcement that they had to cut even more hours. This was very hard on me and my coworkers because we all love working together and seeing each other on the weekends. The rest of my week has been filled with video conferences for classes, many naps, and an unhealthy amount of Xbox.
While I was talking to my peers over text or Faceetime, we all came to the conclusion that no matter how many times we have mentioned not wanting to be in school or wanting to finally graduate and leave Midlothian, we are, and do, miss it more than anything. We have talked to other underclassmen and have made sure that they understand that they need to cherish and enjoy their last years of high school because they will never truly find another experience like it. We also made sure that they know to form positive and uplifting relationships with their teachers because they never truly know the last time that they might see them with all of the uncertainties and curve balls the world can throw at us. This has been an extremely emotional week for my family and peers alike, and the only thing that we are sure about is that things aren’t going to go back to normal for a long time.
Bailey Carter, Class of 2020