Incredibly, June is over, meaning quarantine has been in full effect for nearly three and a half months. For students in Philadelphia, it has been extremely difficult to keep occupied, and more importantly happy, during the drab days of staying home and doing school work. In an effort to learn a bit more about the experiences of those around me, I reached out to some of my peers and asked them to write a small piece about their happier times in quarantine. ” Here is what some students had to say:
“While quarantine is an excuse for many to be a bit anti-social and reserved, I have actually had somewhat of an opposite type of experience. Sure, I’ve been lazier than usual, but I’ve been able to strengthen some of my friendships. A normal school day is often pretty chaotic for me and, while there is a fair share of chatting when we should be working, I don’t always have the time to just hang out with my friends. Over the past few months, a few of my friends and I have been meeting online at least once a week and discussing anything and everything that is going on. At one point, we were meeting every night and talking for multiple hours! Even if it is a bit strange, my favorite part of quarantine is getting closer to some of my good friends.”
Ethan, Grade 11, JR Masterman
“Although I miss being able to have the freedom of doing social activities with my friends, as days go by, quarantine could be used as a time to reflect. As we are socially-distancing from others, I also chose to ‘socially-distance’ myself from social media. As a result of this, I live more “in the moment”. I find myself to be a lot more content with my lifestyle since I can’t compare mine to others. Scrolling through Instagram truly did affect my self-esteem and I was addicted to it even if it was boring. I couldn’t help but feel emotionally detached while scrolling and seeing how people were defining their self-worth by their amount of followers and likes. The best thing I did during this quarantine was removing social media and focusing on living. Since social media just felt like an unhealthy addiction, deleting it was a highlight of my quarantine.”
Jennifer, Grade 10, JR Masterman
“Due to the quarantine, I have had a recent increase in downtime. As someone with a driver’s permit, I figured that this would be a good time to improve my driving skills. I have gone out driving about twice a week for the entirety of this quarantine and have completed all 65 of the hours needed to take a driver’s license test. However, this will not be happening for some time because all of the DMVs are, sadly, closed. Nevertheless, driving has been quite relaxing for me during these stressful times and it has been a good way to get out of the house without having to worry about social distancing. I’ve driven to every part of the city. Sometimes the city seems like a ghost town and sometimes it seems as if there is no pandemic at all. Still, I am grateful to have had this distraction during this very unusual moment in time.”
Vilnis, Grade 11, JR Masterman
As for me, I have been doing some things during quarantine that brighten up my day. Since the beginning of quarantine, I have begun biking more often. I find it rather soothing to race down Kelly Drive and the Schuylkill Trail, through all the passersby and alongside the speeding cars. The wind in my hair (which is in a helmet, safety first) puts me at ease, and I highly recommend a trip down the hill at the Falls Bridge while cycling towards the city.
Let’s remember that we are all in this together and as a unit. Like Ethan mentioned, we can entertain each other. Like Jennifer said, we can change how we look at our lives. Like Vilnis, we can make new hobbies out of things we will one day do out of necessity. Don’t be afraid to make a fun spreadsheet or have fun filing taxes. I hope everyone is staying safe and comfortable throughout quarantine, I’d love for anyone who feels so inclined to email me what they have done to keep occupied and have fun in these past three months at firstname.lastname@example.org.