COVID-19 turns pre-quarantine hates into loves

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Sarah Collins

A visual representation of the various junk foods that junior Sarah Collins snacks on during quarantine.

Sarah Collins, Editor-in-Chief

I never dreamt I would end junior year in quarantine. COVID-19 shocked us all, disrupting our lives and making us live in the moment. Most look forward to the future, but I think to the past. 

Before COVID-19, going to school every day was the bane of my existence because of classwork, teachers and cafeteria food. Most kids hate school, and if we had the choice, we would not go at all. However, if this happened, our futures would be shot. There would be no nurses, doctors or first responders; everyone who guides us through these uncertain times wouldn’t exist. We truly don’t, it seems, miss something until it’s gone. I never thought I would miss classwork, teachers and cafeteria food, yet I miss these very much, and quarantine has taught me a valuable lesson.  

I miss classwork because it’s much better than virtual school garbage. I’m used to having a teacher to direct me and friends like Henley Armon in pre-cal to ask for help. At home, my learning is solely what I can do. If I don’t understand something, then it’s “oh, well” most of the time. Teachers can only do so much through long-distance means. Although they can email, make videos and send out notes, it’s not the same as interacting in a regular school setting. Take Mr. Schwalbe for example. When I am in his classroom, I can ask questions and get direct feedback. If I don’t understand something, he can SHOW me how to do it, not TELL me online. To be honest, it’s very hard to explain what I’ve lost by not being in the classroom, but something is definitely lost. 

During the quarantine, I have had zero motivation. All I want to do is lie around and sleep. It takes a lot for me to pull out my computer and start my classwork. That’s probably the biggest reason I miss teachers: I need someone to push me and help me get things done. More than ever, I respect homeschooled, homebound and K-12 online students and their struggles. Although most of these kids have teachers, the way that they interact is different than my norm. They have their “lessons” through virtual means, and most, if not all, of their assignments are submitted online. It’s just not the same as having someone like Mr. Schwalbe teach it face-to-face. It’s true that most of these students are learning online because that’s what they’d prefer. However, I know that virtual learning is not what it’s cracked up to be, and it’s a lot harder than “regular school.”

As for my biggest pre-quarantine hatred? Cafeteria food. Cafeteria food is notorious for being terrible; I don’t care how much salt or pepper you put on the dishes, they’re still going to be awful. While I like the cafeteria’s grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, pot pies and spaghetti (sometimes), most of these dishes are not my cup of tea. Think about their chicken nuggets. There have been a few instances where I found the nuggets to be pink, half-cooked, full of cartilage and almost impossible to chew. Ever since then, I have been scared to eat the smallest bite of chicken nugget that came from the cafeteria, although some of my friends continue to eat the nuggets every single day. However, I love this dish because it is my diet of sorts. I eat the aforementioned gross cafeteria food in very limited portions, which helps me keep my weight down. Since I’m spending all this time at home, I’m eating everything in sight out of boredom. I swear my refrigerator and pantry have seen me 27 times today — mini M&Ms, chocolate Easter bunnies, lemon cake, doughnuts, chocolate chip cookies and soda are just a few of my favorites. Obviously, eating all of this stuff is unhealthy, especially since junk food is my favorite thing to binge. Gaining weight is not ideal for any teenage girl, and this is why I miss cafeteria food more and more each day of quarantine. 

We don’t miss things until they’re gone — the truest thing that I’ve ever heard. I miss the classwork, teachers and cafeteria food from my life before coronavirus, and I’m sure that many other students are feeling the same. Everyone I’ve talked to simply cannot wait to go back to school. They miss their friends (as do I) and the glorious disadvantages-turned-advantages of school life that I already mentioned. I’ve learned that I should never take things for granted, even the things that I thought I used to hate.