Hello everyone I am Colleen O‘Hara, Assistant Director Hyde Center for Global Education at Boston College High School in the United States. I am delighted to share some students’ reflections as part of the global students project “A Day in my Life: living under the Covid-19 “ .
A Day in my Life: James, 16, Boston College High School, USA
An average day in quarantine looks like waking up at a very generous 8 am (compared to a previous 5:30 am alarm), sitting at my desk, going through a habitual routine of virtual classes, completing some work, spending time with family, then going back to sleep. In this period, everyday day feels like a Tuesday, friends and families are separated, activities that we love doing are postponed, and normal life and routine as we know it, for the most part, has abruptly come to a halt as we wait out this strange and once-in-a-lifetime situation.
Considering the fact that on a normal school day I normally leave home at 6am and get home at 7pm, it has been very strange to adjust to the concept of not leaving your house. In Boston Massachusetts where I live, the government has been very restrictive in where we can go, so I have not really left my house unless it has been to do things such as get groceries or help my grandmother who lives with us. Strangely, it has been nice to be able to take a deep breath from our busy lives and help us think about what we are truly grateful for, for me being my family, friends, education, and more.
While there is so much uncertainty in our world as to when our lives will resume as normal, all we can for now is doing our part by staying home, make the most of this time, and remain hopeful of a soon return.
A Day in my Life: Jack G, 16, Boston College High School, USA
Utter isolation for an extensive amount of time can truly capture one’s spirit of happiness. The abrupt rearrangement of housing situation and academic resourcing has become even more of a detriment after the official global closing. Not to mention that as a community we have just recently lost our sense of sanity, but for others who had immediate difficulty experienced this quite quickly. I no longer have control of emotional expression, and everyday I wish to return to my regular schedule consisting of homework, food, city commutes, and of course, actual social interaction. Personally, I enjoy simplicity, but the pandemic has definitely not been helpful.
Though it may sound unusual, I am not a student that will voluntarily waste a day of quarantine for video games or unnecessary naps. I try to make the most out of these times of productivity. From the beginning of isolation I felt optimistic towards pinpointing new opportunities and navigating different areas of interest that I strayed away from most likely because I was either pre-occupied, or felt that I could be doing something more beneficial with my life. Fortunately, I have a comforting family that I have spent a rough two months with. They have been nothing but supportive throughout my struggle. Because I have five other siblings, my house does get loud at times, but can be enjoyable on a difficult day, especially a Tuesday.
I think a lot too. I think about what could have happened and what surely couldn’t have happened. I think of solutions that could be implemented to solve the world crisis, but then realize it would be difficult for my opinion to be utilized. I think of when I’m able to return to the CVS Pharmacy about five blocks down my road without having to be cautious of who is around me. I think of my life beyond and after the pandemic. I start to reminisce about my past.
I think of a world without barriers on health and a globe of beauty. I think of God and his perfectly constructed Garden that could have been ours. I find this idea of speculation to be both extremely useful and captivating. What a strange world; societal differences, global pandemics, water contamination, institutional discrimination, inclusiveness, climate change, unemployment rates, riots, etc. Unfortunately, this list of unwanted problems could fill more than thousands of pages. Every day, our world leaves me wondering, how are we able to redirect negative historic trends and forever change society for the good?
A Day in my Life: Daniel, 16, Boston College High School, USA
It is important during these difficult times to reflect on the positive things in our lives just as much as the negatives, that way we still have hope to continue our struggle. Online school has brought with it both good and bad things.
The obvious negatives are that my interactions with people, both friends and teachers, is limited. Of course with friends, I engage in FaceTime and Zoom calls in order to maintain my social relationships. However, I find it difficult not being able to talk to teachers and ask for help. While there are designated times, it was much easier to simply raise my hand in class or stay after class for two minutes to clarify a topic.
The positives are that I enjoy the luxury of being able to sleep until 8:20 rather than my original 6:00 wake up time. I play on the soccer team, but my club is temporarily shut down, which means I have to find other ways to train. Fortunately there is a large field near my house where I can maintain well over six feet of separation from other people. I only hope that a vaccine is developed in the near future so I can play during the fall season.
A Day in my Life: Matthew, 16, Boston College High School, USA
The coronavirus pandemic lifestyle to this point is dragging along. Despite, being able to go outside, I am itching to get back to my daily life. It feels though I were strapped down to my house. A usual day during such circumstances starts off with remote learning until about noon. Then, I spend the majority of the afternoon completing homework to be submitted online through my iPad. I try to get in a workout for the postponed baseball season as well. I then look forward to either a homemade or fast food meal. Finally, when the weekend rolls around, I get in the little socializing I can through video games. Right now, the world and I are anxiously waiting to get back to our normal routines.
With the lack of travel or movement throughout the day with this new routine at home, I often feel fatigued. Even the simplicity of the commute by train into school, would wake me up in the early morning and help prepare me for the rest of the day. Socializing has become a struggle with the lack of physical classes. Public places such as the gym for workouts (and our gym at school) also shake up the daily and weekly routine. It has been a challenge to stay motivated through this repetitive routine that I am in currently.
However, despite the challenges, I am thankful for having the resources I need at home to sustain an adequate routine. I am thankful for having the resources at home to get in the exercise to stay in shape as a student athlete. Of course, the little things such as food, water, and a loving family have made this new lifestyle much better. In addition, I am thankful that no one in my family has contracted the disease. These gifts have really helped me up to this point with getting through the pandemic. Even though some might be giving their hopes up I think we eventually will find our way back into a normal routine. As humans, we always have found a way to move forward in life. No one knows what the future will hold or what this new normal will be. But, I am confident that we will get through this crisis. I hope that everyone maintains a serious attitude towards this crisis, and that we stay strong. But, I also hope this coronavirus pandemic ends very soon.
A Day in my Life: Nathan, 16, Boston College High School, USA
In the earlier days of quarantine I barely left my house. More specifically barely left my room. I was so excited to get to sleep later and just hang out with my friends all day. But then it grew much more serious in my state of Massachusetts. The virus began to spread rapidly, and all businesses were shut down. This gave me a feeling of fear because my world I had known my whole life was shut down.
Typically on a weekday I would have classes from 8:30 am to 12:15 pm. It is very hard to stay focused and learn because of the distraction and temptations of things we have in our homes like our phones, but do not have in school. It took few weeks to get into the new routine. I felt more stressed and more unhappy because of the excessive amount of work being given out and the fact that I could not see my friends. Businesses are starting to open back up now and I have finally got to see my friends a few times.
My favorite past time is golf. The golf courses were reopened which gave me something to do to stay active and to see my friends every day. It feels so good to just go outdoors and be able to talk with my friends. Although this is a step in the right direction, I am wondering when things will finally be normal again.
A Day in my Life: Nick, 16, Boston College High School, USA
As I sit in my desk, preparing to finish school through the my computer screen in the late stages of May, my window into world, I think about how it all began.
A day to never forget, Wednesday May 11, 2020: the day I departed society for the next 3 months and counting. For my ignorant self, it was the beginning of the end. See I did not understand the severity of the virus. “A global pandemic?? That only happens in the past and in movies.” Little did I know the world was continuing its pattern of pandemics every millennium.
Two days of no school became two weeks, which became a month, and all of I sudden, I found myself watching a graduation through a 20×25 inch panel, which is the last strand keeping me connected to the rest of the world.
My life has become so simple and mundane, I could write out my whole month on a Post-It. I essentially live as if I was plagued with the virus. I wake up at 8:15 drenched in sweat from last night’s humid 4-hour sleep, and stumble downstairs to devour a breakfast in order to be ready for my 8:30 class. I slip in and out between the planes of reality and imagination, as I try to fight the sleep that attacks me. I finally reach noon; at last I can fall back asleep, but as I lay on the mattress, all my tiredness leaks out of me. Lunch goes by in a blur, and force myself in my desk to finish homework. As late afternoon rolls around, the sleep returns. I fall back into my coma, waking up only to someone shaking my shoulders and yelling that it’s time for dinner. The sun sets, and the stars rise, sprinkling the dark sky. Occasionally I will step out into the silent darkness, the glow of the moon lighting the ghost town this pandemic has cause.
While the virus has turned our homes into prisons, but the lockdown has opened my eyes to a whole new world. The hours between sunset and sunrise are like an entire universe, which I would never have had the pleasure of visiting, if I did not have the luxury of attending school from home.
A Day in my Life: Kieran, 16, Boston College High School, USA
I wake up each morning and look outside at the ominously empty streets. I walk downstairs in the unusually quiet house to log into my first class of the day on Zoom, but that is the new normal, right? My everyday routine consists of my getting up, going to online classes on Zoom, working out for rowing, and homework. My classes have become extremely short, causing an overflowing amount of questions for each class as my teachers cram 50 minutes of teaching into a 25 minute class. On top of the short classes, teachers are forced to pile on homework in order to get through each topic they are supposed to cover. It has been difficult to keep up and learn from my teachers face on my screen when I am a click away from going on YouTube or Netflix. It has definitely been a struggle with online classes so far.
However, there have been some amazing parts of this time at home. Having school at home, without my hour commute to school, means that I get almost an hour and a half more sleep each night. This is amazing for someone who struggles to get eight hours on a daily basis between my commute, rowing, schools, and homework. On top of that, I have much more time to spend with my family, meaning we can finally have dinners all together in the dining room.
For rowing, I have found that there are upsides and downsides of this tough time. My sport is a very team-based sport in which you have to be very in-tune with you teammates. On top of that, it is really aggravating not being able to see my friends each day at practice. However, it has been nice to be able to row for a couple of hours on the machine down in my basement because I can still get in an equal amount of work without the worry of getting home at 7:30 pm after I am done. Overall, it has not been very fun to have the rowing season cancelled by the school because this is always the time of the year when there is nothing more fun than being out on the water in the sun.
I do hope that society will become normal again over the summer because it would be such a shame to be stuck inside for the first semester next year. I have missed my friends and teachers so much over these past couple weeks, and it would be unbearable to have to stay away for even more time. I think that we, knowing what we have done and can do, should all do our part now and stay at home as that when the time comes next year to start school, we might be able to return to normal. I hope that this all ends soon so that we can enjoy each other’s presence in the next couple months.
A Day in my Life: Jack C, 16, Boston College High School, USA
The Coronavirus pandemic became apparent in my community on March 12th, 2020. I was in my chemistry class when a student announced to our entire class that a parent of someone in the school had tested positive for COVID-19. At first, everyone was a little bit happy, because we all knew we would have some time off from school. The school announced it was just going to be a two day cleaning of the grounds, and everything would hopefully be back to normal shortly. Two days became two weeks, then two months, and eventually school was shut down entirely. The United States’ first case of the Coronavirus occurred in February. Since then, over 100,000 people have died, and over 1.5 million people have contracted the virus. Communities all across the country have been forced to follow social distancing guidelines to reduce the spread of the virus. The politicians and leaders of the country, though in a challenging position, have not exactly handled the issue in the best way, from rejecting extra masks to feuding over what strategy to pursue in stopping the virus. Additionally, the economic situation of the country is declining. Since interaction between people must be limited, many small businesses are in danger of closing, which has led to hundreds of thousands of people being laid off from their jobs. The stress of losing your job, getting the virus, and boredom at home has also mounted an unbearable toll on everyone’s mental health. In other words, we have seen better times.
Each day, I wake up to login to online school. On average, I probably have only two or three teachers that actually use the online classroom application, zoom, to teach each day. After that, I do my homework, which usually only takes an hour or two. By then, it’s only 2:30. Trying to find things outside of school work to do has been difficult. I’m on the school track team, so I try to run most days to stay in shape for cross country season in the fall, if it happens. Otherwise, I’ve been splitting up my time between watching shows like The Last Airbender on Netflix, watching movies, and reading the book Oliver Twist. The biggest thing I have struggled with since the quarantine started has been the lack of social interaction with my friends. It isn’t like I haven’t talked to them via social media, but that feeling of another person being physically present with you in a conversation is something I miss. The thought of summer starting is beginning to scare me. I don’t want school to end. The state will still be closed, but I won’t have anything to occupy myself with. As annoying as it can be, school has been a great distraction from the other stressors of this situation. The best part about this situation has been getting to know my family better, which has been really great. At first, I thought we might all get a bit annoyed with one other, but so far, it has been mostly smooth sailing. As strange as it sounds, I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know about my parents or sister. It’s just been fun to learn more about how they feel about the little things.
I also am grateful for this period of time because it has helped me focus more on my faith. Praying has kept me hopeful in this turbulent time. If this whole situation has taught me anything about the world, it’s that we must work together as one unified human race if we are able to get life back to normal. If we do that, then we have done all we can do. The rest is not in our hands. From a societal standpoint, I have become aware of who the real heroes among us are: nurses, first responders, or even just people who stay at home. My biggest concern is that society will not be ready for a more serious struggle. What if another depression or a more serious virus comes along? I’m worried society won’t be able to handle it. Ironically, this concern has helped form my biggest hope; that the world will be prepared for tougher times. Everything happens for a reason, and history is here for one reason; for us to learn from past mistakes. If we can do that, then I’m certain we will be ready for whatever roads lie ahead.
A Day in my Life: Andrew, 16, Boston College High School, USA
With coronavirus in my country (United States) every state is in a different situation as I am in Massachusetts. Everything that was deemed nonessential was shut down for the most part, but now we are in phase one of reopening. Other places like Florida where my Father and Brother were for a month was still pretty much open. So it varies depending on where one lives in my country, and in the entire country there has been more than 100,000 deaths.
These changes during coronavirus have affected my daily routines as I have an online class from 8:30 to 12:10 on workdays. Also to go to stores and restaurants is different, as Market Basket only lets in a certain amount of people, and restaurants are takeout only. Along with this, there has been a shelter in place in Massachusetts which my parents would not let me see any of my friends. So my daily routine has been changed dramatically, as spending time outside has mostly been bike rides and street hockey.
The gifts and graces about this situation are I have more time to learn about me and to try new things. For example, I have learned how to skateboard, rollerblade, and do bike jumps just over quarantine. The challenges in this situation over quarantine have been that it is lonely and especially boring on days with bad weather. As I have not seen my friends in a few weeks and the school work is just what has been keeping me busy. Also there is too much free time that I start to not know what to do with myself, as I do not want to play video games or watch TV.