March 12, 2020 – It’s a normal day, we’re aware and cautious of COVID-19, however I go to the gym as usual, I study for my International Baccalaureate (IB) final exams, and I’m feeling good overall. I’m focused on the predictions that I will achieve a lower mark on my IB exams than I think I can get, and I am determined to prove my teachers wrong. I am incredibly motivated to do well. I just came off a week where I had a History Review, Epistemology essay and Particle Physics test due. They were some of the best assignments I had written and I am in a very good academic rhythm in preparation for spring break. Our Head of School had sent out an email telling us that a parent of our school had tested positive for COVID-19, but that the school was not closing down. The parent was asymptomatic and the health authorities deemed the risk low, however my parents are not allowing me to go to school tomorrow.
March 13, 2020 – I went to a restaurant with a friend, I noticed the restaurant was relatively empty but there were no red flags.
March 15, 2020 – My mom told me not to go to the gym, so we bought some home-gym equipment. While my father and I were out buying it (practicing physical distancing, of course), I got an email saying my gym was closed. This is when we all began self-isolating and social distancing as we know it.
March 22, 2020 – The end of the school year is changing. It was announced that our IB exams were cancelled. This has never happened before and it’s affecting over 200,000 students. I’m particularly upset by this as it was going to be my chance to prove those predictions about my grades wrong and it was taken away from me. Even though it would not have affected any university offers, I feel deprived of the opportunity to finish the year strong. On the bright side, my workload is a lot more relaxed now and I have no more assessments… at all.
March 23, 2020 – We got an email from our senior school principal, that our Grad Ball, basically our version of prom, will not occur and that efforts are being made to hold a convocation in some way (not the traditional way, of course).
March 31, 2020 – Today was our first day of online class, it is difficult to stay focused, difficult to keep track of time, and looking at a screen for 8 hours per day is exhausting. Luckily, teachers have begun letting us to do independent work for the majority of lessons, making it a little bit easier.
In a situation like this, I have to think positive. I tend to think myself into black holes of negativity sometimes. It’s hard not to do when everything you have worked towards feels like it being taken from you. It is my work at UNICEF Canada that allows me to have a positive mindset. I told myself, no matter how I graduate, I would do it with a smile on my face for all the youth around the world who did not get the chance to experience their final year of high school. It has become my outlet.
When my friends begin sulking, I gently remind them that we are lucky, regardless of how they feel.
IB is a difficult program, most IB students and teachers would agree with me on this one. Over the last two years of IB, I learned to be fuelled with productivity, specifically when it has to do with school. However, due to the COVID-19, I have had to redefine productivity. Over the last few weeks, I have learned to make use of this time because when else in my life am I going to have the opportunity to be surrounded by nothing but my home environment?
Still, being home all the time is weird. Most elements of structure have been taken out of my day, and I don’t know how to feel. I cannot help but wonder is this what being an adult and having so much freedom feels like? I have taken it upon myself to begin activities I want to do, rather than those I have to do. I have been learning about topics I am interested in rather than I have to know about for school. I also go for drives sometimes while listening to different radio stations, gathering the latest news on COVID-19 and the OPEC crisis. In the end, this physical distance is not so bad – for me anyway. Not great either but it is different, and I embrace it for what it is.
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