Johanna Hunt

What have you learned? 

I have learned the importance of personal time and space. Although my family is in the same house and separated, it is hard to find moments I am alone and it is quiet enough to think without interruptions. I have found new hobbies that give me this time like meditation, walking, and working out. I have also tried to be more invested in people I don’t get the chance to see all the time. It is easy to lose contact with people that you no longer see everyday.

How priorities and values changed since March 2020?

I have prioritized my mental health a lot more by picking up healthy hobbies. I weight lift to work on my mind and body and have been keeping busy with art to entertain my mind. I am still in the process of learning how to prioritize my happiness.

How are things different in your life now? 

I see friends less frequently than if we were going to school. I work more at my job, and I think about how weird it will be the day that we will no longer need to wear a mask. I have spent more time with my family better or worse. I have traded old hobbies for new ones.

“Since I miss seeing my friends and classmates so much, my priorities have changed a bit in that I now value quality time with others more than I used to.”

Lauren Snook

Over the course of the pandemic, a lot has changed and there have been many sacrifices in everyone’s lives. Although the change has been difficult and at times heartbreaking, I can reflect on many positives that have come about due to being at home all the time. I have learned that I am very adaptable. I was able to adjust to a whole new lifestyle and become accustomed to waking up and moving three feet to my desk for school and attending classes in my pajama pants (which isn’t all that bad). I am now used to planning out my day so I am not stuck in my room all the time working on homework. I’ve had to find time to squeeze in taking my dog out for a walk or getting some form of exercise when before, physical activity was always built into my day because of sports. I have learned to become more self-reliant and independent because it is mostly me holding myself accountable for getting things done. It has been challenging learning over the computer, keeping track of schedules, and finding motivation, but if I have learned anything throughout the year, it is that I am resilient and adaptable and will pull through these strange times.

Since March of last year, I have realized that we all took advantage of the time we had with our classmates and teachers at school. It would’ve been hard to imagine at the beginning of 2020 that I would be missing going to school and seeing my friends and teachers every day. Since I miss seeing my friends and classmates so much, my priorities have changed a bit in that I now value quality time with others more than I used to. Hanging out with my friends, family, classmates, and teammates is something that I miss so much, and I now value the time I do get with them a lot more. I also have prioritized going outside and getting fresh air. Being stuck inside on Zoom all day can be mentally exhausting. Stepping outside, even for a few minutes, to take a breather is something beneficial to me. 

All these changes have made my life very different from what it was a year ago, but during this time I have been able to focus more on me and take steps to better myself for the future. I am now more independent, self-reliant, responsible, and better at managing my time because of quarantine and I will take these qualities with me to college and throughout my life.

Mason Stecher

Over the last year, I learned that life is unexpected. I never once would have thought that a global pandemic would force us to attend school digitally for a whole year and affect every part of our lives. I have gained a renewed appreciation for the activities and sports that I do which I have not been able to participate in due to COVID-19. Last year, track season was cut short when the pandemic started in March, meaning that we only had a couple weeks of practice and no meets. The cross country season was moved from August through October to February and March, so it was harder to stay focused on running, and we couldn’t meet up to run together. I realized how important activities like these are.

My life is very different from what it was a year ago. Before, I used to leave the house every day when I went to school, but since school is currently online, sometimes I stay at home for days at a time. I also don’t see my friends in person very often, and have to communicate with them digitally in order to stay in touch. This makes me appreciate the relationships I have with my friends even more now.

Adapting to school digitally took a while for me. Even though it was easy to use Zoom, Google Classroom, and the other online tools we used for school, it was hard for me to get into the mindset of being in class while I am sitting in front of the computer at home. Normally, I would have to wake up early, eat breakfast, and drive to school. But now if I really wanted to, I could get out of bed five minutes before class started. I realized that this wasn’t a good idea, and instead tried to treat the virtual school days like they were in-person school. Over time, school online felt more and more normal, until now, where I feel like going back to school in person feels strange.

Samantha Scales

Since the pandemic started I have learned a lot about patience. I have also learned how to be able to entertain myself. These qualities have been hard to learn because it’s hard to wait on people and other things to happen. During the pandemic, nothing was happening and if there was a chance of possibly having sports I have had to be patient and wait for sports to be approved. Participating in football and golf is what kept me entertained. Without these outlets to entertain me, I’ve had to learn to keep myself occupied. Luckily, golf has been something to keep me entertained with courses still open. I’m grateful that golf has been something to be able to keep me entertained and I have been able to work on my game. My priorities have changed as well, I used to be worried about what everyone else was doing. The pandemic has given me time with my family that we haven’t had before. My dad used to travel a lot for work and now he hasn’t traveled in over a year. This has been especially nice because it is Lizzy’s and I senior year and he has been able to be there the whole way. This is something that we haven’t really had and it’s nice to have him here for our final year of high school.

Routines have definitely changed for me. My schedule is more open than it used to be. Last year, I spent a lot of time at the school due to sports and other activities. I am thankful for those experiences and the relationships that I have built on those teams. Now, all of us spend a lot of time at home, I catch myself finding any reason to get out of the house just so I can say that I got out of the house that day. In the future, I think we’re all going to be more careful about what we are touching and washing our hands more frequently. I think that schools might have to keep some of the protocols in order to keep sickness under control. I have a renewed sense of appreciation for actually going to school and being able to socialize with teachers and friends. I have also missed sports, sporting events, and other activities that our school held.

Lilianna Rosebrook

My life was completely turned upside down by the pandemic. Countless things I had looked forward to were suddenly cancelled; track season, the state dance competition, and prom. I was devastated by these sudden changes. Although it was disappointing these events were cancelled, I learned to never take things for granted. I wish I could take back every day I complained about being tired because I was too busy. Now, I crave the hustle and bustle of school, sports, and social activities. The shutdown has taught me to be grateful for what I have in my life and to never take for granted the good times we have. 

The time I would usually spend with my friends or at sports practices is now spent with my family. I have grown much closer to my siblings. One of the best consequences of the pandemic has been creating stronger bonds with my family before I go off to college. These past few years I have been spending more time at school or sports practices than with my family, so it has been an amazing opportunity to grow closer to my family. The pandemic has forced me to slow down and take a break from my crazy busy life.

COVID has renewed my appreciation for school, going to mass, and regularly seeing my friends. I miss being able to see people at school, waving to people in the halls, chatting at the lockers, and communing during lunch. My circle of friends has dramatically decreased and I have lost contact with quite a few people throughout this time. However, the friends I have stayed in contact with I have grown very close. Although things may never go back to normal, I hope I will be able to reconnect with all the people I lost contact with throughout the shutdown. The virus has overall brought a tidal wave of death and devastation throughout the country, but it has also taught the valuable lesson of being more grateful and never taking the good in my life for granted. 

“COVID has renewed my appreciation for school, going to mass, and regularly seeing my friends.”

Elijah Laureles

What I have learned through this pandemic is that I need to have a lot of patience. Before the pandemic, I didn’t need to have a lot of patience before and everything I did would not require patience. Also, when staying in my own house for a long period of time and not doing anything can be painful. What I mean by painful is that I get bored and anything that is said to me I get annoyed. I feel like staying in my house forever and not traveling or doing anything like hanging out with friends is hard. Overall, this is what I’ve learned about myself throughout this pandemic. 

My priorities and values haven’t changed since last year. My values and priorities are still school and exercising. They haven’t changed at all, maybe I feel a little more lazy but that will all change because it has to. I feel in the end that none of my values and priorities haven’t changed.

What’s different in my life is that I’m doing online school and not having school in person. Although I will have school in person soon, it won’t be the same because of all the COVID restrictions. Also, I don’t know if I will have a basketball season because of COVID. Another thing that has changed is that all the days in the world feel so long and that I have way too much time which I don’t really like for some reason. I don’t like that I have so much time because in the end when I have done everything I feel lost or I start to procrastinate a lot of my time.

I feel like a lot of things will change in the future. Online school will become a normality. Hopefully rules of COVID will be less strict and people will be able to do more without restrictions. There will be more vaccines in the US and people will feel safe. Hopefully in the future  sports can go back to somewhat normal and that more and more fans will be allowed into area’s. In the end the future is a mystery and we will just have to see what happens. 

I think we all have to show appreciation to the doctors and nurses that risk their lives to save people. The doctors and nurses deserve the most appreciation because they are doing so much to help people. The people that I appreciate the most besides doctors and nurses are my parents because they are helping me and my brother a lot. My parents have helped my brother and I a lot while still having to still go to work and make money.

Nicklaus Leong

Since the beginning of the pandemic and quarantine, I have learned the importance of self motivation. Before the start of Covid 19, I had the luxury of coaches and friends who encouraged me to stay fit and work hard. When I was locked indoors and prevented from spending time with my friends and participating in sports, those luxuries left me crippled. Without any exterior motivation to keep running, I began to lose the fitness I worked so hard for. This negative period lasted for the majority of 2020 until I decided to take my fitness into my own hands. Simply becoming fit was not enough for me and there was no cross country or swim season to prepare for. The two ways I managed to overcome this obstacle was to set personal goals for myself and to run more than my friends as a challenge.

As the restrictions on gatherings increased and my social interactions decreased, my values pre quarantine changed. Before, I valued performing well in school and in sports, but now I value and cherish the small gatherings I have with my friends. I realized that virtual meetings were nothing compared to seeing people in person. My tolerance for isolating myself in my home grew thin and seeing my classmates during zoom lessons did not help. As quarantine has changed many people, quarantine has made me more extroverted. My increased interest to go outside and talk to people rather than play video games has all resulted from the lack of social interactions I usually got during school. I have made new friends and deepen my relationship with those I already talk to. Among the negatives that Covid has brought to the world, my appreciation for my friends and family is among the positives. 

Anonymous Senior

It has almost been a year since the pandemic started, and I have learned so much more about myself than I ever would have if it never happened. I learned about my strengths and weaknesses, I learned to put myself first and prioritize my mental health, and I learned about what my passions really are. I used to care a lot about what other people thought of me pre-pandemic, but I now know that nobody’s opinion about me matters except my own. I realized that we are practically tiny beings living on a giant floating rock, so it is foolish to let my insecurities stop me. I also learned that music is a lot more important to me than I thought it was. Music used to be a stress reliever for me, but because I had more spare time, I became a lot more invested in it. As I started to listen to, play, and sing different genres I realized that this really is what I want to do for the rest of my life. 

Although 2020 was not exactly an ideal year, it did help me grow. Now I am a lot more confident and happier, despite our current situation. For the future, I have goals I have set for myself and things I want to accomplish. I will be able to fully trust myself and do what I think is right. I know I will put in hard work and do what I want to do instead of be held back by what other people expect from me. 

Since the pandemic started, I have started appreciating the small things. I used to look past them because I did not think they were important, but as I started paying attention to the smaller things, I noticed I became happier. I felt more comfortable with everything going on around me. I also started liking going on walks more. I used to hate them because I thought they were pointless, but I realized that walks are actually very calming and therapeutic. One thing I never thought I would enjoy is poetry, but my list of poems and random quotes in my Notes App says otherwise. I used to think poetry was boring and just a meaningless clump of words put together, but the beauty and simplicity of a few words that can move someone to tears drew me in. My new found love for poetry also led me to read more books. I used to love reading books when I was younger, but I never read any books for fun anymore because I never really had too much spare time. But after I picked up a book this summer, I could not put it down. Even in school this year I actually enjoyed reading every book assigned, and so my love for literature also came back. 

When the pandemic first started, I thought it was going to be horrible. All I thought about was not being able to see my friends everyday or experience the rest of high school. Although the pandemic was completely unexpected and took away so much, it did give me the chance to work on myself, and for that I am grateful.