S.M., a teen in Pleasanton, CA

This post is in collaboration with covid9teen

Pleasanton, CA:

The beginning of quarantine was the worst part for me. Netflix became my best friend, and I spent all day staring at some screen. After weeks and weeks of wallowing in self-pity and boredom, I decided to be productive. So after, a few days of minimal planning, I decided to start a blog!

This blog wasn’t something that I wanted to turn into a huge deal. I wasn’t aiming for TMZ, or Billboard level, rather small teenage-run organization level. I’d worked with small blogs such as UrnotAlone, and Uknown 16 before, and more prominent brands like Tidings, so I thought I had some idea of what I was getting myself into.

I didn’t.

To say the first week was disastrous is almost an understatement. I’d brought my friends on board since I thought, “Oh, it’d be fun to have my friends working with me.” I’d come to regret that idea in the next month. I had to learn how to navigate through Wix, which is harder than it looks. I set up an entire website in a week. At that point, I was spending the whole day glued to the screen of my mom’s Dell laptop. I was almost grateful that we didn’t have school because ideas for the blog consumed my days. What will I name it? I stuck with The Science Behind. What will our logo be? A friend helped me out on that. What will be the structure of our team? Will we have our website domain? Yes, it’s the sciencebehind.net.

My parents weren’t very thrilled to see that I’d started dedicating entire days to the blog. For the first month and a half, our interactions became a cycle. I’d wake up and get started on the blog; they’d yell at me, get mad, do math for half an hour, and then get back to the blog. It was almost comical how we did the same routine every day.

The second part of my struggle was building a routine. When the articles would be turned in, how long the artists would have to make the covers, how long the editors would take, how much time I would have to publish them. My parents were pretty helpful at this stage. My father manages hundreds of people, so he gave me tips and tricks to lead my team of roughly ten people.

I’d gotten so caught up in the little world of my blog, my studies, my routines that I’d almost overlooked the things going on right outside my window. The coronavirus swept through cities neighboring mine. I heard the news of cases building up merely ten miles from my doorstep. Then, the news of the George Floyd Protests happened. My dad and I biked through a live protest. As marvelous as it was that people from all over the world had gathered to defend the African-American community, it was a little worrying that it happened during a pandemic.

The blog, for me, turned out to be more than a project. It became a platform for me to share my voice. To be honest, it’s scary. Watching millions of people get sick. To imagine a world different from what I’d dreamed it to be. I am a freshman in high school, and I’ve got a whole journey ahead of me, and it terrifies me to imagine that millions of other people and I would have to experience it from behind a computer screen.

Now, that may seem selfish considering thousands of people are dying, and what I care about is the ‘high school experience,’ but look it from my perspective. Isn’t it scary enough, that in four years I have to decide what to do with my life, and now I have to find out whether I’ll get a chance to do anything?

Is staying at home from school, only to watch people still rebelling against quarantine laws? Definitely not. But is it worth staying at home, and not seeing my friends for some time only to get a better future? Definitely yes!

[submitted on 11/6/2020]

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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