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Quarantine: The New Normal?

Bolivia’s been under quarantine for six weeks now. 

At first, everything was new to everyone: Not being able to go out (only for your once-a-week exception to buy necessities and medicine), long lines at the supermarket, and having to wear face masks everywhere you went to. 

Students had to especially face a big new challenge: online classes. Having to sit for 8 hours in a row doing school work is not easy. People have limited concentration spans, and 8 hours is definitely way past the limit. Also, because of the huge amounts of assignments that teachers were leaving the first few weeks, most high schoolers were missing their designated “lunchtime” (11:30 am-12 pm) to finish the work due at the end of the period. So we had no break. 

For me personally, the first few weeks of online school were tough. Schoolwork, eat, shower, sleep, repeat. It was mentally exhausting. Yeah, I did watch the occasional Netflix while I was eating my dinner. But that wasn’t living. I had no time to myself. What about self-care? The excuse that some teachers were using was that schoolwork was supposed to distract us from the pandemic, and keep us occupied. In reality, these huge workloads only contributed to our list of worries, making us more stressed and preoccupied. 

Then, every single person also has their own personal worries. Some worry about their family members and their higher susceptibility to getting the coronavirus, others might be worrying about their work assurance; you just never know what’s going on inside people’s heads. Some might even be dealing with a loved one’s death.  

As the weeks have been passing by, everything has gotten to be much more quotidian, the waking up and staying home all day. At first, I saw it as a burden: not being able to see my friends, not going to school, the sudden lifestyle change. Now, I’m more accustomed to quarantine. Hey, I might even say that from time to time, I like it. Also, teachers are leaving much more manageable workloads. We’ve all just established some sort of schedule. 

Despite this, I know that, still, we share some common worries. The seniors, for example, worry about college and graduation. Is our graduation celebration canceled? Are we even going to receive our physical diplomas? Are we going to be able to go to college this August? Are we going to have online classes in college as well, due to the pandemic? Everything’s just so uncertain. 

The thing is that most of us are getting used to this uncertainty. We’re learning to embrace it, for our own sakes. People are coping with the world’s situation in different ways: learning how to cook, exercising at home, picking up a new hobby, planning their next start-up.  

I personally feel like I’ve already gotten used to all of it. I’ve already gotten used to the fact that most likely, if not 100% confirmed, we’re going to have online graduation and senior farewell through a Zoom meeting. That if things don’t get better with the COVID-19 situation, I might have to delay college admission to January, or even to August 2021, if I don’t want to have to go through online college. That I did not and will not have the typical senior experience, not even by the slightest. 

And I think I can be okay with that. There’s nothing more to it. I just cannot NOT be okay with it, because that’s my situation at the moment. I just need to learn how to look at it with positivity. For example,  I try to cheer myself up by having private club dance sessions and making desserts with my sisters, exercising from time to time, watching Netflix. Just by doing things that can easily lift my spirits. 

Quarantine IS my new normal, at least for now. Right now, I’m just trying to move on. Life moves on. How fast you want your life to move is up to you. Whether you want to watch Netflix all day or plan your next life move — it is up to you. It’s okay to do either. Really. During these times, just do whatever feels right to you.

Fernanda Pedroza

My name is Fernanda Pedroza. I am a senior who loves being happy. I am from Peru. My favorite food is pasta. A word that would describe me would be optimistic.

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