A.B., a teen in Murrieta, CA

This post is in collaboration with covid9teen

Murrieta, CA:

When quarantine began, I had recently turned 17. Tomorrow I will be 18. It has become really challenging for me to accept that I will be an adult tomorrow when I never had the chance to be 17.

At first, I spent quarantine 3D printing face shields for my community, but eventually summer classes and college apps took over my time. Then I began my senior year in high school. About every two weeks since school started, everyone acts like quarantine is about to end. That, to me, is the most frustrating part. My school still plans on having prom and class trips to amusement parks by April.

My family is asthmatic, so we have been really careful since the outbreak. I have been out with other people enough times to count on one hand (and even then we socially distanced with masks). I will sometimes go on a drive just to get out of the house, but beyond that and picking things up for school, I don’t leave much. Before the pandemic, I used to be busy every weekend and didn’t come home from school until 5pm because of my extracurriculars.

Now, virtual school ends at 12 noon and I spend the rest of the day on homework. Learning online is challenging. I have had more late assignments this year than in my 3 previous years of high school combined. The reason why I have so many late assignments is because some days I just can’t sit and work anymore, so I blow it off and relax for the day. This has helped me with my mental health a lot. These days are when I can experience some of the ‘bright sides’ of quarantine. I spend this time 3D modeling, building PCs, playing games, and talking on discord with friends. Occasionally, I’ll go take a hike to clear my head or reorganize my room for the thousandth time.

Though quarantine has been bleak, I’ve gotten a lot of extra time with my family, which I am thankful for. My older sister moved back home for the time being and my dad can’t travel for work, so we have been enjoying the extra time together before I go to college next year. I also have 3 dogs that like to sit with me during class. There’s nothing quite like learning calculus with a 90 pound dog in your lap.

I had to miss out on internships, summer programs, and my last year in high school. But it hasn’t been all bad. I’m lucky enough to have derived some good from the situation. I learned to better balance my life with school. I’m thankful that I figured this out before going to college. If I could give advice to others, it would be to sometimes set aside important things when you start to get overwhelmed. That way, you can regroup and get to a better state before it gets too much for you.

[submitted on 2/4/2021]

Learn more about the LiQ and the covid9teen collaboration here

Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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