The positive side of quarantine

The positive side of quarantine

Free of obligations, we reconnect with old friends, old hobbies, old selves

As social events and graduation activities have been cancelled left and right, in addition to stressful news related to COVID-19, and other financial and personal hardships related to the coronavirus, it has truly seemed like the end of the world for many high-schoolers. For many of us, quarantine has inched by in a haze of Netflix reruns, Zoom classes, and a steady stream of snack foods. However, if you are in a place of privilege where you are able to feel safe and secure in your quarantine and have access to resources like food, water, and entertainment, there are plenty of reasons why we can enjoy quarantine. 

For one thing, it can be really nice to not be constantly swamped with extracurriculars and all of the commitments that go along with them, including sacrificing lunch breaks and coordinating transportation. I found that during the school year, even though I enjoyed most of the extracurriculars I was doing and the classes I was taking, I was really living from assignment to assignment, from one commitment to another, and having to rush from one place at a certain time to another. I often felt like I couldn’t catch my breath and my life began to feel more like one big to-do list than like my own life. During quarantine, I have been able to hit a “reset” button, take time to catch up on sleep and to unwind and truly process my days. I have found this slow pace of living very healing. 

Additionally, with all of this free time, I have found it much easier to be creative and explore other ways of expressing myself. All of us have a million personal projects that we’ve always promised ourselves we would do if we had the time. For instance, I have taken this time to write some poetry and to practice my calligraphy. My friends and family have told me about how they’ve taken on charity projects, writing books, learning a new instrument, or painting during this quarantine. It can feel really freeing to do an activity just for fun, and not because it’s a required assignment or  a college application builder. Having this extra time allows us the chance to learn new things about ourselves and try new things. 

Quarantine has also helped me feel more connected with family and friends.  I’ve felt less drained by school and extracurriculars, so I have been able to give much more  attention to the people that I do choose to interact with. I’ve been able to call friends in different states who have been so busy that we haven’t talked in several years. I’ve been able to become closer to new friends and I’ve been able to stay in touch with some of my oldest friends. Being in quarantine has also enabled me to spend more time with my family; I’ve been able to cook or play board games with my immediate family and to FaceTime or call extended family more often than before. 

In a broader sense, being in quarantine has allowed me to recognize how much I truly take for granted in my daily life. Over the past six weeks, I’ve felt more grateful for school and my ability to get an education. I’ve also realized how enjoyable traveling and going new places can be and the pleasure of simple daily activities, like going to restaurants and the movie theatre, which are all activities I’m looking forward to continuing. Globally, I think we’ve learned the importance of caring for our environment and that with strict, short-term measures, it is possible for us to ameliorate many of the negative effects on our planet. We’ve been able to recognize the importance of voting, of democracy, and how to disseminate honest and reliable information. It has helped us appreciate small businesses and key workers. Overall, it makes me hopeful that we will be able to take what we learned during quarantine and help create a brighter future for everyone. Personally, I look forward to returning to school with a refreshed mind, eager to take on my daily challenges and more fully appreciate them with a reenergized heart.