Keeping contact and struggling through COVID-19

I+smile+as+I+banter+back+and+forth+with+Justin+Leggett+over+Discord.

John Bettger

I smile as I banter back and forth with Justin Leggett over Discord.

John Bettger, Staff Reporter

COVID-19 came as a shock to me. In January, it was just a blip on the radar of world politics, something I heard about but didn’t pay much attention to in light of seemingly more important things like studying and college preparation. Before I knew it, my robotics team’s season was canceled, and not long after, school. 

It was a significant change to learn from home instead of at school; groggily waking up at 6 in the morning, and driving myself to school and walking from class to class to sit next to many of my peers learning about various topics seemed a miserable punishment. 

Once we began learning from home, I had a completely different routine. Now, instead of 6 a.m. wake-ups,  I wake up at later hours, not walking to my car to drive to school, but stumbling to my computer, breakfast in hand, to join a virtual class session. Instead of being feet away from my classmates, we are miles apart, tied together by the ones and zeroes sent back and forth from our respective devices. 

Classes consist of brief meetings to review and assign new work to be completed on our own. Now when I work on classwork, there is no time restriction. I can do work whenever I want, and much faster, with the newfound ability to work at my own pace. I can even enjoy comforts while doing my work. Instead of sitting upright and attentive at a desk, diligently working through my latest assignment, I can now slouch at my home desk, bundled in a blanket and pajamas while the next episode of my Hulu binge plays through my latest calculus assignment.  

The first few days of this new life felt great. After months of waking up extra early in the morning to make my early-bird class, being able to plan my own schedule for completing work was a dream. I had time on my hands to enjoy things like catching up on Hulu and completing other tasks I had wanted to do but lacked the time.

The lifestyle change was a welcome break from the monotony of day-to-day school life. At least, the first few days were, anyway. After a week of online school, life became monotonous again. The things I thought I really enjoyed became uninteresting. Schoolwork felt the same as always, only now in a digital format. It didn’t help that I had limited contact with my peers. All of my school friends were at work, doing their schoolwork or gone. Most days, the only contact I had was with my family because of the stay-at-home order. I realized I wasn’t enjoying life from home like I thought I would. If anything, I felt much less happy at home than I had ever been at school. 

Fortunately, things have changed recently. As April came, I resumed contact with my friends. We planned to watch a show some of us liked together on a video call. Since then,  isolation has become much better. We meet almost every night to watch an episode of one of the shows we like, and then we just hang out, talking about life and what we think of being stuck at home as we try  ride out the pandemic. These nightly calls are now something I look forward to every day as I work on schoolwork and hang around the house. It feels good knowing that once 8:30 p.m. rolls around, we will be together again like we always have, laughing together, talking with each other, and knowing we are all still out there, fighting to keep high spirits. As long as I have our meetings to anticipate, I know I can trudge through this bitter isolation one day at a time.