** We asked some 8th graders from Golf Middle School, in a suburb of Chicago, to share their thoughts with us on the quarantine and got some really well thought out answers. We are so proud of Aiden for sharing his thoughts.
It’s the claustrophobic’s worst fear. The adventurous one’s great defeat. A parent’s nightmare. Quarantine. Something most of us have never lived through until now. But thanks to the new COVID-19 disease, it has become a way of life for most Americans.
No more hanging out at the park. No more going to school. It’s as if our normal routines have been flipped upside down. As schools switch to online learning, it means students get to work from home. This can be interpreted as a good or bad thing.
On the upside, kids get to sleep in just like they’ve always wanted to on a school day. They get to work in their pajamas, sometimes right from the comfort of their own couches. But this quarantine is also forcing parents and kids to bond like never before. All of a sudden, they’re stuck together day in and day out. I can tell you from experience.
I come from a family of five and in our house, it’s usually chaos. Either my younger brother is running about trying to shoot people with his Nerf guns or my younger sister is trying to rule the house. And that’s just on a regular basis. Take one day of quarantine and the fun just amps up.
Meanwhile, I remain undecided on the amount of schoolwork I have to complete each day: is it too much? I understand that these remote learning days are supposed to take the place of regular school days so does that mean I should be spending seven hours on schoolwork every day? I have yet to find out…
I’m curious about how quarantine has affected others’ mental health. It wasn’t like anyone saw COVID-19 coming. But with safety concerns rising about the spread of the disease, experts sought quarantine as the best method for flattening the curve as they call it. Although I can definitely see how quarantine is effective for fighting the spread of the disease, I miss contact with the outside world.
I feel like I’m living on my own planet inside my house with a population of 5. My backyard has become my only safe space where I can relax by jumping on my trampoline or shooting some hoops. And you know what? Taking out the trash suddenly doesn’t feel like a chore anymore.
I’ve suddenly been very concerned with my physical health during these past few weeks of quarantine. I wasn’t the most active person before this outbreak began and now I’m feeling the effects. And sitting on the couch all day watching TV or doing my homework certainly doesn’t help. Fortunately, there are easy ways to keep fit during this time of uncertainty.
I’ve been watching online workouts and they seem to help keep me in shape for the time being. It feels refreshing to belt out all those push-ups after so much time sitting down. And trust me, you don’t have to be too athletic to try one of these workouts. The benefits are real.
So I’ve talked about mental health, physical health, and now for social health. Apps like Google Meet or Zoom help people to stay connected during these isolating times and I’ve never been so grateful to have all this technology ready and active at my fingertips. Sometimes it makes me wonder. How would this whole quarantine be different if it happened a hundred years ago?
It’s not too hard to imagine. The Spanish flu, one of the worst pandemics the world has ever seen, took place roughly a hundred years ago in 1918. There were no planes to transport people across the globe and yet that pandemic still managed to take the lives of millions of people. They say we learn about history so we can learn from our mistakes in the past and so make sure history, the bad parts don’t repeat itself.
I hope people today are taking these past pandemics into consideration when trying to find a vaccine for this disease. We certainly don’t want a repeat of the Black Death.
And now back to my home. The time is 9:30 AM and I’m still deciding whether to get out of bed and start my school day or sleep in for just a few more minutes. Everyone else in the house is awake so I figure I might as well get up now too. I eat breakfast shortly after waking up which usually consists of something quick and easy to make like cereal or oatmeal. After that, it’s time for school work.
Now I’m never one to procrastinate on my school work but when my cell phone is sitting within arm’s reach beside me on the sofa, it can get very tempting to go check on it. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. You can do this. Don’t lose focus. I refer back to the schedule I have made for myself. First up is Humanities class. I take a quick survey, watch a video, and begin to write in my journal documenting my life right now during COVID-19.
My mind goes blank. What should I say? It’s not like I did anything worth writing about today. I decide to save my journal writing until later in the day when hopefully I’ll have done something fun to write about. I switch to science. I start researching and then my mind gradually loses focus on my school work.
My hand inches towards my cell phone and before I can stop myself, I grab it and start checking my texts. No new texts I quickly realize. Ok, I guess I should put my phone away now so I can concentrate on my science homework. I put my phone back and finish my science homework within a few minutes. Then as I’m pulling up Spanish, it happens again. My addiction gets the best of me.
Ok, this is really getting out of hand I tell myself. Then I come up with a brilliant solution. I power off my cell phone and place it in another room where I know it can’t possibly distract me. Problem solved.
I eat a delicious lunch soon afterward followed by the rest of my homework. I check the time when I’m finished. It’s 3 PM. Five hours, not bad I tell myself. But then again, is it bad? I glance over at my siblings playing some video games in the living room. They sure look like they’re done with their homework. In fact, it looks like they’ve been done for a while.
But then again, I’m older. I should be having more homework than them. I walk over to charge my Chromebook before sitting down at the TV to watch my all-time favorite TV show, Stranger Things. I always wondered how I came to like this show. I hate horror movies, books, TV shows. Basically anything to do with horror scares me. But sometimes a show is produced so well, it just makes you forget that it’s even what it really is.
I lose track of time like I always do and before I know it, I’m called to dinner three hours later. Ooh, what’s for dinner tonight? I think, my stomach rumbling for something good to eat. I find a plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese sprinkled across it waiting at my seat. All right! I gobble it down shortly afterward and enjoy some cake for dessert as well.
I finish off the evening by watching another couple of episodes of Stranger Things and scrolling through my phone. And before I know it, the day is gone and I’m called off to bed. Man, is the day over already? I think to myself. It’s weird. During this time of quarantine, I would expect the days to drag on endlessly. But instead, it seems as if the days are just whizzing by, as bored as I am.
I’m thinking of the rest of my family; my cousins, my friends. How are they coping through these uncertain times? I only wish they’re handling this situation as well as I am. Honestly, though, I’m not sure when this quarantine will pass. It could be a week (ok, maybe not a week), a month, or maybe even a good few months. However COVID-19 decides to run its course though, I’m ready for it.