It’s Friday, November 13. At 7:15a.m., your alarm pierces the silence in your bedroom with your favorite song in an attempt to wake you up. It’s even harder than the day before to get out of your bed, but the thought of having to deal with the mountain of missing assignments that you’ll build up is more than formidable enough to get you moving.
After you eat breakfast – cereal again, for the fifth day in a row this week, you head back upstairs to your room, where your desk and chair await you. I really don’t want to turn on my camera for this class again, you think to yourself, mindlessly moving your hair back and forth in an effort to try and look presentable. But you know that it’s more difficult for teachers to not see who they’re interacting with when they’re teaching, and you’ll probably have to turn it on anyway, so you move the mouse away from the camera button and towards the “Join” button on your Google Meet.
Every class seems the same as the day before. You sit in the same spot all day and take notes while your teacher lectures about the newest topic. You’d give anything to be moving at the rate of learning that you would normally be, but most classes are running daily for only a semester in order to lessen the amount of people each person comes in contact with. At some points the topic is easy, and it seems like you’re going too slow. But on other days, the ideas just don’t click in your brain, and you don’t feel like you can stop the teacher and ask them for help, because there just isn’t enough time in the semester to explain every topic twice through like they normally would. Maybe I’ll email them later for help, you think, wondering if it’ll be enough.
A two-week quarantine period for everyone at school has had a bigger impact on you than you thought it would. You used to go to school twice a week, which would change up your schedule, making it exciting. After a long summer of quarantine, now you could find joy in safely leaving your house and seeing your friends for the first time in months. But all the while, there was a small voice, jabbing at the back of your mind, saying, “Don’t get too attached. This won’t last forever.” Even so, you tried to enjoy the time that you had and avoid dwelling on the inevitable future, which is finally here. All the adults are trying to be positive, saying that you’ll probably come back to school on the two days before Thanksgiving, and right after the holiday break in December. But with COVID cases surpassing 150,000 per day in just the U.S., it’s hard to believe. You’ve talked to your friends, and they feel the same way as you. Motivation is hard to come by as of late. That C on your AP Environmental Science test just doesn’t matter as much as it would’ve last year. An F on a homework assignment? Who cares? It’s just one – it won’t matter in the end. How can you motivate yourself to stay on task at school, to give your best effort to complete every homework assignment and to study your hardest for every quiz and test, when another full-virtual shutdown is breathing down your neck? When you don’t know what your future will look like? Will you get a prom? A graduation? One last sleepover with your friends before college?
And even with all these problems looming in a dark cloud over your head, you can’t help but think back to last Friday the 13th: March 13. You and your friends were huddled next to each other at your lunch table when you first heard the news that school might shut down. You were all so elated at the idea of a two week break, having no idea what was to come in the following months. COVID was a problem that other countries had – not the U.S. You were sure that in two weeks, you’d be back in school for another week of learning, and then you’d leave again for spring break. After the principal made the shutting-down announcement over the loudspeaker, you took pictures in the bathroom mirror with your best friends, captioning them, “See you after coronacation!” and posting them on your Snapchat stories. The thing was, that was wrong. Eight months later, it’s Friday the 13th all over again, except this time, you haven’t seen your friend smiling in ages, so you have to assume she is behind her mask. You haven’t sat in a classroom and had a lively discussion with your peers since March: half of them are always at home, and the desks are too far apart to feel the same connection you once did. All you want is for this nightmare to be over. You wanted to make lifelong memories in high school, but these memories are nothing you could’ve ever imagined.
Junior Alex Martinez-Garcia is the co-editor of the 2020-2021 Colonel. When she’s not playing lacrosse or swimming for LHS or the Westerly YMCA, you can probably find her planning events as class president or in Outdoor Adventure Club. Outside of school, Alex loves to play the piano and watch every TV show that Netflix and HBO Max have to offer.
One thought on “Friday the 13th”
What a well written piece! As an adult, I, too, feel like this, but it’s interesting to see this pandemic from the student perspective. Please keep writing. You have a natural, storytelling talent.