There will be no hard-copy April edition of the Granite Bay Gazette for the students in Karl Grubaugh’s high school journalism class at Granite Bay High near Roseville in Northern California. The school is part of the Roseville Joint Union High School District.
While normally they would be busy working on the school newspaper, they are home, like other students across California, after schools closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Grubaugh, who has taught the class for more than 20 years, asked his students to instead keep a journal about their experiences during this time.
“This is unprecedented for all of us, and I thought this would give my journalism students a chance to write about how they’re dealing with it all,” Grubaugh said. “I think their efforts are so honest and open and raw. I sent them a text, when they were compiling them into a Google Doc, and told them they’d managed to make me start crying.’’
We are pleased to bring to you some of their moving reflections on what they experienced when their school first closed, and subsequently. Just click on the photograph of each student to read their journals. We will update their entries during what is now expected to be a prolonged closure of their school campus. You can hear student read excerpts from their journals on our podcast.
Mareesa Islam, junior
March 15: Only two days in. Yet, I can already sense the feelings of self-isolation closing in. Staying indoors this weekend has been out of the ordinary, but it may soon be a new reality.
I understand the concept of social distancing is to protect the vulnerable, to flatten the curve of infections. Although it has only been two days after the announcement of the school’s one month closure, and I have enjoyed the quiet and relaxing weekend so far, I am curious to see how this change will affect our community.
Perhaps I will venture out this week and drive through the city, only to see empty roads and unused sidewalks. Even though I don’t doubt that these preventive measures will decrease the number of people infected, I fear this idea of emptiness. My family and friends are all quite anxious to see how drastically this virus will affect Granite Bay life, and ultimately, the entire world. Only time, for now, will tell.
March 26: It’s official. School won’t reopen until May 1. But I even have doubts about that. Less than a month ago, everything was normal and as it should be, until, suddenly, the reality we know got ripped away from us. Who knows when I will be able to see my friends again, face to face, or greet my neighbors without a six-foot barrier. The last chance to experience high school before senior year is most likely over, and college acceptance tests are questionably mysterious due to COVID-19. I feel selfish as I know these concerns should be the least of my worries, so I am trying to focus my attention on what I should be thankful for: the health of my friends and family. I pray for those most affected to get better and overcome this unforeseen situation.
March 30: Today, I went out in public for the first time in two full weeks. It was just a short trip to Safeway, but it was a trip nonetheless. Going in, nothing seemed too out of the ordinary, but I was surprised by the large number of people shopping as well. One thing that especially caught my attention was the fact that no one seemed to be talking. Everyone seemed to have a purpose and wanted to get out as soon as possible. As I was walking through the aisles, I noticed that some were completely empty, including the frozen vegetables and cleaning aisle. It doesn’t seem that COVID-19 tensions have died down, people are still stocking up on “essentials” in preparation for the worst that may yet come.
April 13: For the first time in the last month in quarantine, I felt fully content. I was able to see my friends’ faces in person (from a distance of six feet of course) as we drove in a parade of cars to surprise our friend for her birthday. Although I wasn’t able to easily and directly communicate with them or give them a hug, I was so happy to see them again after so long. It gave me a remembrance of what reality used to be like, and I am truly grateful. I am grateful to have such wonderful friends, healthy family and fortunate conditions (considering the circumstances). All in all, today was a great and fulfilling end to spring break.
April 22: The days all just seem a blur. I wake up not knowing what day it is, and without the urge to know, because everyday seems the same. Although my daily schedule has given me a sense of control and familiarity with this unusual life, it is extremely unmotivating to have nothing new to look forward to. The most variation I get in my day is changing up where I decide to do schoolwork, and even that is uneventful. Outside on the lawn, outside on the lawn chair, outside at the table, outside on the bench, inside in the kitchen, inside in the dining room, the list is endless. Hopefully in the coming future, we will find a sense of normalcy again.
May Lin, senior
March 17: Starting today, I’m trying to keep organized all the assignments from school and finish them on a daily basis. Without physically being at school in that environment, it gets hard to be focused but I’m sort of taking this as an opportunity to train myself and be self-disciplined, with college getting closer and closer after all. It’s also nice though because now, there’s no idling during class hours and getting bored. I can work things out at my own pace and plan my schedule.
March 25: It was a low point last week, mid-week, but this week, I feel things are starting to change. Maybe I found more things to do besides sit in front of a computer screen or maybe I’m just getting used to the silence, but overall, I’m trying to make myself comfortable and more at peace of what’s happening. I heard from my friends that we’re starting to ride the exponential curve, so I pray everyone else who’s going under the same or worse circumstances than me, that they make it out OK and everything’s well. We can only be optimistic from here on out, nothing works if we’re fragmented.
March 31: Things are getting calmer as I’m getting used to what’s happening now. I just started working out following YouTube videos and I forgot how much I missed playing sports and releasing my stress through exercising. I’m scared because I’ll be playing water polo next year in college and I won’t be in the best shape since my training got canceled and I don’t even know if my club will start this summer. My parents still don’t want me out yet and the gyms are all closed so I’m trying to find other ways to keep myself busy and healthy, physically and mentally.
April 15: Spring break has just ended and we’re back to regular sessions again. They just declared how the grading system would work for the rest of the semester and honestly, I’m not against it since it won’t affect me either way. However, although most students will take full advantage of how lenient the system is now, I feel bad for the kids who actually don’t have access to the internet or resources and am frustrated that the district didn’t find other options and chose to ignore all the voices who advocated for more equity during the district call. Now, they just declared another meeting on how graduation is going to go, so we’re just waiting right now.
April 23: I’ve gotten back into working out after giving myself a break. However, I’ve realized how much of this disconnection from the real world and lack of positivity has gotten over me during quarantine; I’ve been looking in the mirror a lot more, counting the amount of cookies I’ve eaten, and spending too much time comparing myself to ‘perfect’/fit bodies on social media. I could see why they caution about mental issues or disorders being on the rise during isolation, and I’m not saying that I’m easily defining what it is or asking for attention, but it did take me a long talk in the shower to snap out of it.
Ashley Lucia, senior
March 19: We’re beginning to look a lot like Italy. A family friend knows a nurse in San Francisco who describes the drastic need for health care supplies. They are now only offering one mask and instructing nurses and doctors to reuse it every day! Two bottles of hand sanitizer are being rationed among all staff. California hospitals are beyond strapped. And Pres. Trump has decided governors need to use their own resources to fix the lack of supply in their states. Ugh. This issue is very local as well. Unfortunately, my friend had to be rushed into the ER Tuesday night. Sutter Roseville had giant tents filled to max capacity set up for processing potential coronavirus patients. She was immediately isolated from them and her family; not even one parent was allowed in with her. Fortunately, they released her quickly.
Unless one had a life-threatening condition, the protocol was to force them out to lower risks of further exposure. She described hysteria in the ER witnessing nurses fight and brawl over who had to go “in the tent tonight.” Hazmat suits are protocol at Sutter for the tents. Interestingly enough, however, they have a shortage of masks. Therefore, many of these same nurses treating my friend were wearing no masks or protective wear. After rushing her out they rerouted her case back to where she was treated before, Stanford. And Stanford hospital said do not come here, there are way too many coronavirus patients. “It’s an absolute mess.”
It doesn’t matter the hospital, they are all struggling. This system is crumbling and something needs to happen fast. We have a leadership team that is operating on an every-man-for-themselves mentality, and verbally attacking those who are asking valid questions. We need confidence and compassion from our leaders, but as the crisis grows, so does the inefficiency. It’s a wild time to be alive. But honestly, I can’t wait for this to be in the history books. And for the next generations to learn from our leaders’ mistakes.
March 25: I want this virus eradicated, but I also want to be a part of society again. I want to have faith in our leaders and I want to trust them. And most of all, I want to feel like there’s a purpose again. Waking up to the same cycle of events makes every task completed or step outside lack fulfillment. I never imagined my senior year would end this way. Over the past few weeks, I’ve found the most difficult part of these circumstances has been the uncertainty. You want to believe there is hope that we are close. Close to a cure. Close to a vaccine. Close to the pitfall of the peak. And above all close to a shift back to some form of normalcy.
But as more measures are taken and more voices are heard within the medical community, the end of the tunnel seems farther than we could ever hope for it to be. I think a lack of hope in the presence of uncertainty and fear has the potential to bring out the worst in humanity. As we crave change, I see how some resort to behaviors deemed hostile and disrespectful. Whether that’s fighting over supplies in the grocery store, or on the infamous NextDoor app. People are fighting because they are scared and because they want to be heard, but don’t know how to be. And what I mean by “people” is every single one of us.
March 30: Every day it becomes increasingly difficult to fill the seconds, minutes and hours. School work provides a sense of accomplishment, but there are no tasks/activities still open/allowed that provide the fulfillment we all crave. The days drag on and on and predictions in the news of things lasting until summer are disappointing. I still don’t know how to pass the time. You would think as time progressed more would become desensitized. But not for many. I don’t really know what else to do other than wait. I think a positive outcome will bring the newfound appreciation for the simpler things in life. Something many of us have overlooked for so long. We are fortunate to live in a country with so many freedoms that allow us the opportunity to explore and adventure. Something that is very missed right now. But will never be taken for granted.
April 14: I still don’t know what to do to pass the time. I often think about the impact this is having on our world. And I wonder how long all the time. How long until we are free? Until the restrictions are lifted Will anything ever be exactly the same again? Will we still greet with a handshake, a hug? Will people be scared to leave or restless from having been cooped up for so long? Will they be eager to taste freedom or dreadful of the spread of corona? Will human interaction as we once knew it ever be the same?
April 24: I feel as though I have become desensitized to the act of staying inside. I’ve found newfound appreciation in the little things that change up a mundane daily routine. Including walking to the mailbox, surprise conversations with strangers, and more. I constantly crave the adventure and spontaneity my life once included. And looking into the future is as equally daunting as the present when I foresee the future plans of seniors completely crumbling. I’m not sure what else COVID-19 can dare to take from us. From the class of 2020, the healthcare workers, the economy, and everyone in between-how much more can we withstand?
JJ Hill, senior
March 18: I want to say that I’m really optimistic about the future, but I’m honestly also pretty sad. My entire senior year disappeared before my eyes and all of my graduation plans are gone. My family isn’t coming anymore, nor am I leaving over spring break to surprise my Grandma for her 80th birthday in Pittsburgh next month. Although I feel emotionally okay with being at home right now, I’m disappointed I won’t get to experience anything a senior can anymore. I was looking forward to seeing the proposed Senior Week implemented into our last week of high school, but I know that it will now most likely be spent in my bedroom, just as monogamously as the preceding few months. It’s a bummer knowing that I can’t see my class again for Senior Sunset and say goodbye to everyone. However, I’m doing alright. I think that’s what is important.
March 24: It hadn’t started until today, but it feels like everything is blending together. I suppose it isn’t too dissimilar to a normal school week where I forgot what happened which day, but I can at least differentiate the dates. Stuck in my house constantly, I’m losing track of time and the date. It doesn’t feel right that my birthday was only two days ago, but here I am. I hope that this doesn’t turn into some form of dissociation for myself, as that would be the last thing I want.
March 30: As of today, I’m officially bound to Reno for UNR. At least, I hope I am. If I’m being honest, I’m unsure what the future holds. I might not even be leaving my home for the next year, so who knows? I’m equally ecstatic, delighted and completely terrified. I’ve dreamed of the college experience forever, and now that I’m an adult, I can pursue my future. Yet, just as sure as the future I’ve worked for, it could all come crumbling down. I might be canceling my freshman year of college, which sucks. I thought my biggest worries were going to be who my roommates are and the friends I make, not a global pandemic demolishing the one thing the past 12 years have all been building up to. I got into the colleges I applied to and chose a good school. The stressful part should have passed. Instead of getting to ride the year out and start anew, I’m more stressed than ever.
April 16: Now that there is only about a month left in the school year, I lack any proper motivation to do a lot of the assignments I’m getting. I can’t tell if it’s senioritis, or if being stuck inside all day is starting to drain me mentally. The work I’m being asked to do in some of my classes seems so trivial when compared to the grand scheme of things. How can anyone truly feel motivated enough to put their all into what they’re doing when so much of our lives have been completely consumed? I can’t even record the assignment I need to get done for my media class without a few news notifications popping up to let me know the world’s still ending. It just feels like busy work that, in the end, doesn’t matter. When everything you do is just a distraction, at what point does it stop working?
April 20: I keep thinking about the snowy tree in the high school’s parking lot on Saturday. It’s hard to believe that a group of friends went to Tahoe and shoveled snow and a tree into the back of their truck just to dump on the blacktop outside of GB. We went to it and it was like a sight of beauty. It was the first (and most likely last) time I’d ever seen snow in my hometown. I don’t know what about that tree was so fascinating to me. They spent hours driving and working just for a joke people wouldn’t have seen if it weren’t on Snapchat. Why would you want to drive and work without doing anything else in the mountains? What is the point? Then, I realized – it was the act of putting so much into something which, in the end, didn’t matter. The only important thing was the time they spent with the people around them. It might be cliche, but it’s true that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
Kate Fernandez, senior
March 18: As we’re all beginning to acclimate to this new lifestyle, I can’t help but feel sorry for myself and my fellow seniors. That isn’t to say that I don’t understand the gravity of the situation, and I am very grateful to be healthy during these trying times. But my class has lost so much so fast, it’s overwhelming. In a matter of weeks, we lost spring sports events, Powderpuff and senior ball, and it’s unlikely we’ll even get to return to school later this year. We never had the chance to say goodbye to the teachers we loved, or to the students that made our high school career just a little bit easier. We’ll never get to experience that feeling of finally finishing high school, of achieving the goal we’ve all worked so hard for. It’s a depressing situation, and there’s no denying that.
March 22: Boredom is not an easy obstacle to overcome. I’m lucky of course, seeing as I’m fortunate enough to have the things that I do that serve as objects for entertainment, but after a while, they’ve lost their appeal. I can watch only so many random videos before they feel like they are going to make my brain melt. I have to find something else to do these days.
March 29: I realized that I will be spending my 18th birthday in quarantine, which I guess is just another thing COVID-19 has taken from me and everyone else. Who knows, I suppose that something could change before then, but I’ll most likely be celebrating in isolation, and if that’s not depressing I don’t know what is. Regardless, I’m grateful that I’ll even get to celebrate my birthday, although it may be in isolation, because I know that there are so many people that will never celebrate another birthday again thanks to this awful virus.
April 15: Although we haven’t graduated yet, our senior year is basically over. And while many people seem to be despairing over this fact, I can’t help but feel hopeful. To me, high school was just a stepping stone, a method of preparing me for what I would encounter in the real world. Although it didn’t exactly end as I thought it would, I’m glad senior year is over. I get to move on to something new and exciting, and get to leave behind the trivial drama of high school.
Brent Evans, senior
March 19: My first inclination is to complain and feel “cheated” out of my senior year, which admittedly, I kinda have been. I’m grateful that I at least got football, but if the school remains closed, the class of 2020 will be missing out on Powderpuff, Senior Ball, Senior Sunset, Sober Grad Night, Graduation and the Europe Trip. Literally everything that makes senior year special and fun are being ripped away from me. I’ll probably never get to read the note I wrote to myself freshman year, or walk across the stage at graduation with my family smiling at me, and that just feels wrong. Why should every other senior class ever get these and we don’t? But it’s not all bad. I recently downloaded some new games on my Xbox and I started some new shows on Hulu.
This quarantine has given me time to do things that I wouldn’t otherwise do, and that’s really important to me. I made some money helping my neighbors and took up drawing, things I wouldn’t have been able to do if we were in school. I finished the day by watching Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu with my family, which was a lot of fun since we don’t always get time to hang out as a family when things are normal. All in all, this sucks, especially for the class of 2020. There’s no way around it. But there’s still something to be thankful for. Other countries have it much worse, and at least we have food on our plates and a roof over our heads.
March 23: Today started off normal enough — I played Xbox with some friends and made a meal for brunch before watching Hulu. But I decided to do something different; I began a “Star Wars” marathon, starting with Episodes 1, 2 and 3. In times such as these, I find it important to focus on things that make me happy rather than the things I’m missing out on. I then watched the new episode of “Little Fires Everywhere” before watching YouTube and going to sleep.
April 16: Although I live with the lingering reality that I won’t be able to experience my senior year to its fullest, today was a happy day. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been around Granite Bay football. Over the past four years I’ve had the opportunity to not only play football for my own pleasure, but for my family, blood-related and otherwise. Granite Bay Football gave me the best four years of my life. It taught me how to be a man, how to cope with disappointment and handle success, and now I have the opportunity to give back and pass on what I learned as a coach. It’s been a topic of conversation for a while between my dad and I for a while and yesterday it was officially announced. It felt like the logical next step; I’m going to Sierra and staying home for the next two years and my dad and grandpa both coach, so why not? This was a nice change of pace from the usual monotonous disappointment that seems to be all too common nowadays.
Sophie Criscione, senior
March 16: I’d consider this day one of quarantine, and it hasn’t quite hit me yet that I won’t be at school for a month. My friends and I decided to plan an exciting quarantine game night to distract ourselves from all the negatives surrounding our current reality. A group of us are all meeting and creating various competitions largely based on board games and the Wii. The team that wins will get a prize (of unknown value, as no one knows what it will be yet), and the pair that loses must wake up early and make breakfast for everyone tomorrow morning.
Amidst all the changes and uncertainty, I am extremely grateful for my friends. Especially in a time like this, I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. I know we aren’t necessarily following“social distancing,” but we are avoiding public places and none of us, at least as far as I know, have coronavirus. Some people might think we aren’t taking it seriously enough, but we have talked about how disappointing this all is to us, and I’ve had too many meltdowns over things getting canceled.
I think we all agree that we’d rather use the time we have with each other to relax and enjoy ourselves than waste time worrying over something we can’t control. I also can’t help but think about the day we all have to leave each other for college, which is approaching fast. Not being able to go to school and see everyone every day is especially sad because I know this is my last year with my classmates I’ve grown up attending school with. I want to spend as much time as I can with these people outside of school, even if it means FaceTiming my friends whose parents are trapping them inside their house. Hopefully, Netflix, FaceTime and Mario Kart Wii will be a sustainable source of entertainment for the next month.
March 26: It’s been almost two weeks since our school moved all classes online until the end of spring break, and today we just found out school is now closed until May 1. I was honestly expecting this, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we stayed online for the rest of the school year, but it’s still very disappointing. To me, this news didn’t just mean I will be stuck at home for an additional three weeks, but also meant Powderpuff won’t happen, Senior Ball is canceled, spring break will consist of solely Netflix and quarantine and my senior year is practically over.
I’m sad that all of this has to happen and I won’t get the senior year experience I was expecting, but I have to remind myself that every other senior in the world is going through this as well. Additionally, there are many individuals and families suffering much more from this pandemic than I am, and I am extremely grateful my family and friends are staying healthy and safe. For all the seniors, I understand how awful this feels, but I believe there’s hope and still so much to look forward to. Graduation in August doesn’t sound too bad, right? My class has some of the most hardworking, passionate, crazy-talented and connected students I’ve ever met, and I know, no matter how disappointing it may be, we’ll find a positive way to make this year count.
March 30: I feel as though I finally adjusted to online learning and keeping a good schedule, but at the same time, my senioritis is definitely coming back. I miss school a lot, so it’s no longer not wanting to go to school but more of me not wanting to go on my computer and do online school. I’m constantly thinking about college and the future, and knowing we might not even have a graduation or last day makes it even harder for me to find the motivation to work on school work. I appreciate my teachers so much for the effort they’re putting in for us to all be able to learn at home, but I’d be lying if I said I had as much motivation as before. I don’t know if all students are feeling this way because of how much easier it is to just sleep in or watch a show at home than do school work, or if it’s simply the usual lack of incentive that comes with senioritis. Either way, I hope teachers know it’s not them (they’re doing an amazing job), it’s us.
April 14: It’s the “first day back” from spring break and I am feeling very little motivation to do my school work. The loss of interest I have found in so many of my classes just because I can’t sit in the classroom and learn is crazy. It’s even crazier to me that my five AP tests are only a month away, and I’ll be graduating soon after. Everything went by so fast, but at the same time, taking midterms at school that last day feels like years ago.
Dylan Rowe, senior
March 20: My whole life I’ve taken my freedom for granted. Now that I’m actually mandated to stay inside and away from society I have no idea what to do with myself. The worst part of it all is that we don’t know when everything is going to be back to normal, so what the hell am I supposed to do without any motivation? I don’t even know if I’ll have a graduation ceremony, a prom or even a proper last day of high school. While it seems minuscule compared to other situations, it’s big for me, and for every other senior getting robbed of their last year. I miss my brother and sister. I miss my mom too. Having to stay quarantined meant that I had to choose between my dad’s or my mom’s house. I don’t know when the next time I’ll see mom in person will be, and that scares me. The unknown is what scares me the most, and right now I’m surrounded by it.
March 26: Today I found out that school isn’t opening up until any earlier than May. You might think that this would make me hopeful, but it doesn’t. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I was supposed to be able to dress up with my friends on prom night, supposed to wake up day after day and live out my final days of high school, supposed to walk up on stage and accept a diploma in front of my family. I’m supposed to go to work, and make people sandwiches and coffee and overpriced smoothies; most of all I’m supposed to be with my friends before we all go our separate ways after high school. I took all of these precious things for granted before this virus took over everyone’s lives. I guess complaining won’t get me anywhere, though, but nowadays it’s hard to be positive especially when all I have is time to think about how unfair all of this is. In the meantime, all I can do is think about and hope for the future, for a better less-quarantined future.
April 1: Today I got out of the house. I went to a park and parked my car next to my boyfriend’s car and we talked six feet apart. It was hard not to hug or touch the person who I love most but it was the responsible thing to do. It bothers me so much when I see people I know posting on social media joking about the fact that they’re not staying quarantined. It’s so selfish of people to continue to go out and party while people are actually dying. I don’t know when all of this is going to end, to be honest, I don’t mind being alone but I’m just so bored and I’m running out of things to do.
April 13: My family never really celebrates Easter as much as other people do. Usually we just have brunch with our extended family who live in the area, but this year we couldn’t do that. This year a holiday felt like any other day, which was the first time something like that has happened to me. I guess it’s just part of growing up, but it felt too forced. In many ways this virus has forced me to lose certain parts of my childhood too soon. I wish this could be over.
Lindsey Zabell, senior
March 19: As of now, life really just doesn’t feel normal. I remember a few weeks ago I was stressed out about being too busy during March and trying to work out a balance between Powderpuff, NYC, babysitting and going to the gym. Now, I am struggling with boredom and trying to find something to keep me busy each day. It is hard for me to have to stay home all day, but I know that’s what I have to do if I don’t want to put my grandma who lives with me at risk. As much as I am trying to be optimistic, it really just does suck having my senior year basically taken away from me right when more exciting things were starting to happen. I’ve also found it to be really hard for me to get the motivation to put 100% effort into online school work when it feels like I will end up not having a real graduation or any of the things I’ve looked forward to for 4 years. But for now, I know all I can do is just try to stay home as much as possible and do everything I can do to stay clean and healthy.
March 26: When I envisioned my 18th birthday, I didn’t picture myself sitting at home under self-quarantine, but here I am. The day started off upsetting for me. I thought about what my day should’ve looked like today — I was supposed to go to school, work, the last Powderpuff practice before the game and then to BJs for pizookies with my friends. But instead, I sat inside my house, unable to do any of those things I wanted to do. I went about my day doing normal everyday things — I cleaned my room, did my homework, wandered around my house for a bit trying to find something to keep me busy. I kept thinking to myself, “This is the worst birthday ever,” and how unfair it was that I had to spend my day this way. But as the day progressed, I realized I have a lot to be grateful for. There are kids my age who might be homeless right now or not able to afford their next meal. Although I felt lonely today, and I didn’t expect it to go this way, my parents made sure the day was special for me despite all the uncertainty in the world and in our lives right now, and I am grateful for that.
March 31: I spent today trying to connect and meet new people through a Facebook page for University of Oregon freshmen. It made me realize how weird it’s gonna be transitioning into college while still feeling like my high school experience is incomplete. I feel like quarantine has made me lose a part of myself — the person who was eager to go out and do new things and be a better person. Now, I am stuck inside my house feeling trapped. It just makes it hard to be the person I want to be when there’s nothing to look forward to anymore.
April 15: I’ve found that it’s becoming harder and harder to be productive when I’m in charge of when I do things. I make a list of things I need to do each day, but then the day ends up going by so quickly and I lose track of time. Lately I’ve been thinking about starting college, and if I will even be able to attend my fall semester in person. I would do anything for life to go back to normal.
April 20: Today was one of the loneliest days I’ve had in awhile. I’m not really sure why – it just felt different from the rest. My mom was gone working at her warehouse today, and my dad was working in his office, and my house just felt empty for some reason. We’ve been in quarantine for over a month and it’s starting to get so difficult to handle. I miss having in person human connection. I miss my teachers, my friends, and even the kids I babysit. I just miss normal life.
Sean Turner, senior
March 16: Today I wasn’t allowed to leave the house at all. I mostly just stayed in and played on my computer, so not much was too scary. There is definite uncertainty for me about what classes will do and when but my main worry comes from the safety of my mom. She’s 61 years old and is terrified of the virus. She talked to me today about how to access accounts and sell our house in the event of her death, which put the fear toward me. Hopefully, none of that is necessary.
March 26: I found out today that the school isolation will be extended until May 1, and that many school districts have shut down for the rest of the school year. It’s looking like the same thing might happen soon to our school district. I look back to what might have been my last day of school and it’s sad to think about how uneventful it was. It was a midterm day and I spent a lot of it taking tests and not speaking a word to anybody. And that was one of my last opportunities to see a lot of different people I would’ve liked to be able to say an actual goodbye to.
April 1: The lengths I have seen people go to entertain themselves are starting to get more and more comically drastic. From the numerous videos of people online impulsively cutting and dying their hair to spending hundreds on games consoles only to play the new Animal Crossing. I’ve resorted to buying and installing car parts that I know aren’t necessary just so it seems like I’m accomplishing something with my days other than typing away endlessly on a keyboard. Though it’s slightly concerning to see people making decisions like these, it’s good that it means they’re following the rules of social distancing and quarantining themselves.
April 15: Every day watching the news just makes me more and more upset. Obviously through all of the reported death tolls rising seemingly exponentially every day, but also through the sheer incompetence that our government has displayed in their handling of this. Politicians completely ignoring doctors’ advice in the name of reopening markets is a hazard to the public health and will directly lead to the deaths of thousands or more, and seeing people protest lockdowns by entering large groups and endangering not just each other but the loved ones around them honestly makes me lose what little faith I had in the American people.
April 23: I saw that certain colleges have decided to begin their fall semester online and it really makes me worry about what the future holds in terms of college for me. I got into a school I was really excited to go to, but there is no way that it is worth it to pay tuition for online schooling over just going to junior college for it. But that also means I would have to reapply and it isn’t guaranteed that I get in the second time. The more I think about the future, the more I see how messed up its going to end up being and the more I wish everything would just go back to normal.
Ali Juell, junior
March 16: I went to the store today for the first time since the coronavirus really picked up steam in the United States. It was scary to see staples like eggs and milk gone at most of the stores we checked, but I also found it kind of interesting to see what people’s comfort foods are. The chocolate ice cream was all out and so was the caramel and fudge ice cream toppings. We’re all struggling right now, but it brought a smile to see the silly little things that people might have been jockeying to get. I can just imagine someone grabbing the last jar of caramel and sighing with relief. Find comedy in all of this helps to make it a little less scary, enjoy the little things! It’s all we’ve really got right now.
March 24: I had to go to school today to make up a midterm that I missed. My parents were concerned about me “breaking the quarantine,” but I barely interacted with two people. It felt kinda crazy to see my math teacher under the current circumstances. It was also just weird to go to the school and see it as kind of a shell of the hub that I typically view it as. I’ve hung out there on the weekends or during summer, but it’s just a whole different feeling when it’s a weekday and we should be in second period at that moment. Not only have I grown a great appreciation for my friends, but I’ve also gained such a large appreciation for school. I always thought of it as cheesy that they refer to school as a place for collaboration and cultivation of learning but it’s kinda true! I miss interacting with people and being able to have conversations with people that I don’t typically talk to. I could do that on social media, but it would just be weird and not the same as in person. I’d give anything to just have one more day of my junior year. I want a proper goodbye to everything!
April 2: I am missing school more and more. It has become so difficult to do my work because I don’t have a teacher motivating me to get it done. All I have is Google Classroom announcements encouraging me to get things done. I also am missing my classmates who were always there to motivate me and share how much they didn’t want to do their work. They’re still there for me but a phone call just doesn’t have the same effect. I don’t know how I’m going to continue to do this for two months. I’m hoping that we’re gonna be able to have a normal summer but I’m not even sure that that’s possible. It blows my mind that the next time that I go back to school I’m gonna be a senior and I don’t feel ready for that.
April 16: I thought that I was handling this well, but it’s really been hitting me hard this week. I feel really lonely and separated from many of the people who I love and see on a daily basis. I’ve been told that when we do return to school, it won’t be the same as it was before all of this began. I’m upset that the road back to normalcy is going to be such a long one. I understand that it must be done; I understand that I’m lucky, but it doesn’t make it any less difficult for me to spend every single day in my house almost every single second. I miss everything. There’s nothing else eventful happening in my life anymore. Every day is just filled with me wishing things were different.
April 21: I played some tennis today with my dad. It was nice to switch it up a bit and get back to tennis again. We haven’t played in a couple months so we definitely weren’t playing like professionals, but it was fun to get back to a sport that I enjoy. Today was also kind of hard because I was thinking about my dog, Daisy, a lot. We had to put her down fairly recently and it’s been difficult to be home so much when she isn’t here anymore. She brought so much love and life to my house and sometimes I just feel so sad about her being gone. I just wish more than anything else that I could hold my dog right now and still have her running around all over the place. It’s indescribable the hole that she’s left in my heart, and I know that quarantine with her around would be making this whole experience so much better. It’s difficult to constantly be surrounded by her absence.
Ria Dhamejani, sophomore
March 18: Sacramento County was put into a shelter in place yesterday and Yolo County just announced theirs today. I’m sitting at home, waiting for the announcement of our county’s shelter in place next. I’m actually hopeful of this because I’m seeing kids and adults not enforcing a self-quarantine at all and it’s very alarming. Too many people are not understanding the seriousness of the situation and how staying home can just speed up the process of life going back to normal. Along with the changes of my life, today was our first day of distance learning, and it’s not as simple as I thought it would be. There’s still so much confusion happening and I don’t even feel motivated to do work. I really feel like I took going to school for granted. Maybe if I was allowed to leave the house I would have a better outlook on distance learning, but right now I don’t. I miss my friends. I miss being able to sit down at a restaurant. I miss my normal life. I wish we took the right precautions and that this had never happened.
March 21: I can no longer explain my feelings towards this virus. All I have been able to do today is reminisce on what my life was like before this all happened, what I have lost because of this virus. It hurts to know that my faith in humanity is beginning to stray. This feels unreal. Turning on the news is starting to be painful for me as all I see is our country falling apart because it’s in the hands of people who are incapable of saving us. Knowing that there are individuals out there sacrificing their health for others because they don’t have the correct protection makes me feel so frustrated. Frustrated. This is the only word I can use right now. I want to blame someone, something, anything. It isn’t a matter of me being angry because of what I’ve lost anymore, it’s a matter of the feelings our society has and the voices going unheard. It’s as if nobody’s questions can be answered anymore. All we are surrounded by right now is the unspecified, and something needs to change soon.
April 14: Today was a bit more of a mental hit than others. I thought I was doing okay and I was staying happy but it all came to a halt today. I’ve been having troubles with being away from my friends. I feel like I’m not really important to people right now and it kind of sucks. I’ve been having trouble staying out of my head. So, I decided to write on a piece of paper. It felt good to let it out, but it felt horrible that I was realizing how much was happening in my head. I laid in the dark for hours and didn’t do the work I should have been doing, but I’m glad I did it. With everything going on, I hadn’t realized that my feelings are valid among everyone else’s. I’m ready to just watch some TV and relax this weekend. I hope tomorrow will be better.
April 22: I have never been so tired. I slept at 3 in the morning last night. My sleep schedule is really messed up now because I feel like that’s when my friends and I can talk most, but not only that I have also felt so down about life. I just wanna give my friends a hug. I was looking through my camera roll and it made me really upset which caused me to stay awake at night. After I went to bed, I woke up and tried to stick to doing my work, but I feel like I have no motivation anymore. Every time I try to sit down and do it , I just can’t. This week was such a drag.
Becca Nolan, sophomore
March 18: Over the past couple of days, I’ve spent most of my time realizing how much scarier this experience has been and reflected on how lucky I am to be safe and healthy. Coming to terms with the fact that this will be the new normal for the time being was really hard for me, and missing all my friends has been the toughest part. Although what has been happening is devastating, I have found time to do some things that I’d usually be too busy to do, like walk my dog and spend more time with my family. I’ve recently learned over 20 TikTok dances because I haven’t found anything better to do. Papa’s Pancakeria is a close second.
March 25: Coronavirus has officially taken away another month of school. I feel like I shouldn’t get to complain because I’m lucky to have a healthy family, when so many others can’t say the same. Not seeing anyone has gotten very hard for me because I miss my friends, but staying safe and distancing myself from everyone is the only way to make this happen and hopefully go back to normal as soon as possible. I never thought I would be missing school but here I am, wishing this could go away. I’ve kept myself busy trying to look for jobs and having applications ready when I am able to interact with other people. Along with trying my best to stay productive, it also ends up in me getting about two hours of sleep.
April 14: It’s the first day back after a long boring break of doing nothing, I didn’t really miss having homework, but then again I still had something to do. Now that it’s getting close to summer I don’t have the motivation to do any of my work, which is especially not good considering AP testing is coming very soon. Teachers keep saying how much they don’t want this to be a stressful time, but then load us up with material. I wish we could have our one month left back at school, and see everyone.
Cori Caplinger, senior
March 16: Today has not felt real. It feels like everything around me is changing and I don’t know why or how. I know that whenever life changes we are supposed to go with it, you know — adapting to the ever-changing times. Except this doesn’t feel real, and it certainly doesn’t feel right. I’ve begun to stop watching and reading the news, and as an aspiring journalist, I feel guilty. Guilty that I am electing to not educate myself about what is going on. Guilty that I chose to remain ignorant. Guilty that I find myself upset over everything that is occurring. I should be actively trying to find ways to help, but it seems like the best thing I can do for myself right now is stay at home and try to figure things out for my family and myself before I worry about anything else. And perhaps that makes me selfish.
March 24: I wrote an opinion piece today that helped me a lot mentally. I had a lot on my mind and kept thinking about things to the point I knew I had to do something to get out of my head. So, I did the thing I know best: write. I wrote two columns in under 10 minutes, which is impressive for me. But I knew I had to say what I had to say. I wrote about the compassion of humanity and the general lack thereof. I spoke about empathy and how we need to be more empathetic to those in need, how we need to recognize that this problem is about more than the individual. I’ve stopped being as sad about graduation and Senior Ball. I’ve even begun to realize that there will be an end to this madness. That things will return to normal, that everyone will be well again, that life will move on even if it doesn’t quite seem like it right now. I feel selfish that I still feel disappointment, and I have a feeling it’s not going away anytime soon.
April 24: I had a decent day today. It’s hard to say that the days are “good” due to the fact that they’re so monotonous. I find that the relationships I have with my family and friends aren’t necessarily strained, but rather more difficult than before. Yet, I still find myself searching for a glimmer of hope, wishing that soon there would be some sort of news regarding an end to quarantine or at least some type of positive outlook for once. The unknown is scaring me more than the known. I worry everyday that the return to normal life will not be normal at all. These times are not easy, for anyone. I worry about never having a satisfying end to high school, a graduation, or first quarter of college. At least I know I’m doing the right thing, I haven’t left my house to go do anything that could possibly have negative implications on the curve. For now, I’ll just keep going through my monotonous routine. Thank god I have coffee.
Shreya Dodballapur, senior
March 19: It’s day 5 and it’s already getting repetitive. I should start working out but I hate working out so hyping myself up to do it will take another few days. Good thing we have a month, so I can afford a few days off. I did some physics homework today but I’m leaving tomorrow to be a work day. Hopefully doing work all day will make relaxing later feel good. Watching TV is starting to feel like a chore. I’m excruciatingly bored. I’m starting to appreciate having work to do because having nothing to do makes everything feel pointless. I miss normalcy but I guess the longer it’s gone, the better it will feel when it’s back.
March 24: Today I did nothing. Again. But I somehow still feel like I don’t have enough time to do actual things. I’m so behind in my classes because school feels optional even though I know it’s not. I’m frustrated that we had to do all the hard and stressful stuff of senior year but we don’t get any of the fun and celebratory stuff. Everyone has worked so hard, and when we finally get to reap the benefits, the world literally comes crumbling down. It’s so self-centered to think about how a worldwide pandemic is affecting my senior class but it is really affecting everyone badly. There isn’t a single person who hasn’t lost something, and it sucks for every single person. Some definitely have it worse than others, but I do think it’s OK to be sad about what’s been lost.
April 1: Today’s April Fools day. Life seems like too big a prank right now though for it to be any fun. I went on a drive, talked to some friends and pondered life again. It’s interesting how everyone’s spending their time. It’s frustrating to see people continue to not social distance and not take this seriously but I think more and more people are. I hope it’s working. Mental health is definitely on a decline and everyone’s doing whatever they can to stay sane. It’s so weird that mental health has to be sacrificed to keep our physical health up. I remember when I was little and I was going through my curious stage and I asked my parents what the point of being alive is and they said living. No one is really living it up right now, but at least they’re all alive. The only thing worse than not living well is not living at all. We can go back to normal soon if we just follow the rules now. Hopefully, people will actually realize that soon.
April 15: Today was my first good day in a long time. I worked out in the morning and felt the endorphins all throughout the day. I put on makeup and started talking to some potential roommates for next year. It’s weird to make commitments when the future is so tentative but it feels good to think about a better time and a better place. I talked to some new friends and some old friends and we got to reminisce about elementary school and sweet memories. It’s nice that even when everything’s falling apart, there are still plenty of unexpected rays of light.
April 22: Today was fun. I listened to new music, made a new playlist, talked to some friends, had a little FaceTime dance party, and got a little bit of work done. I read MLKs Letter from Birmingham Jail for a gov assignment, and I remembered why it’s one of my favorite pieces ever written. When the world is bad, you don’t stop fighting; you fight harder. While the problems of today’s world are different from the 1960s, I hope that people understand how serious the situation is and how much needs to change. I think it’s more important than ever to fight for what’s right. In this situation, that means not encouraging people who aren’t quarantining, staying at home, and voting in November for a president that will take care of us in dire times. I think Coronavirus has pointed out major flaws in American society, from health-care coverage to wealth inequality to simple selfishness. It’s absurd to see how old American flaws that MLK pointed out 60 years ago are still applicable today. He reminded me how important it is to push for change. He reminded me that the good eventually do win, but only if they stick it out.
Heba Bounar, senior
March 17: Today was possibly the first day that I truly recognized the reality of the quarantine. I had spent my weekend out and about with friends as I hadn’t really thought of the potential harm that could come from ignoring social distancing. It wasn’t until hearing about counties in the Bay Area beginning official shelter in place that I realized the severity of the reality we are now living in: a pandemic.
It’s quite frightening, to say the least, as it isn’t a secret that our nation is not nearly as prepared as we should be for this type of situation, largely as a result of the Trump administration’s inability to be proactive two months ago. Yet despite the obvious fear I would expect myself to feel in a crisis like this, it still feels too unreal to understand. The idea of a pandemic seems like a distant thought even though I’m living in one. People are dying but all I can think about is how unfortunate it is that I can’t hang out with my friends. I don’t really blame myself for thinking this way; it’s normal to react only to events that directly affect us. However, it is inevitable that only once this virus really hits our community, I will be able to understand the plight of those who have been directly impacted by the fatal implications of COVID-19.
March 21: I went outside today, and I must say that it felt a lot more exhilarating than usual. It’s quite amusing to see how much more I have begun to value any time outside of my house over the course of this quarantine. Simply going out on a walk, taking in the warm sunlight of a glowing afternoon, and observing families (obviously at a distance) as they also creep out of their houses for the first time in seemingly ages has become beautiful. Although it may be difficult to see now in the midst of such an agonizingly restricting pandemic, I believe that it might be an experience that will allow us to truly recognize the beauty of the little things, value time with friends and the freedom to go out without the fear of catching a virus, and even appreciate the ability to go to school every day. As cliche as it might sound, everything happens for a reason.
April 1: April fools! Coronavirus was all just a big joke! Go outside and resume your lives like normal! If only that were the case. Today was pretty mundane. I went out on a run, and I must say that my lungs were not having a good time. It was quite embarrassing. I miss having soccer practice every week and games every weekend. I miss playing pickup games with my brother and friends. I miss the gym. This quarantine has been making me feel so inactive that I can’t help but feel ashamed of myself. I don’t understand why but I have lost so much motivation to do any physical exercise. It’s unfortunate.
April 14: Ramadan is only nine days away, and the annual excitement that fills the Muslim community around this time simply is not there. With all the mosques closed and the whole social distancing mandate, Ramadan just can’t be the same. No more community meals to break our fast together. No more sleepovers at the mosque. No more youth retreats. No more spiritual talks and late night reflections. The list is endless. This is what disappoints me the most out of every inconvenience this quarantine has brought upon our lives. Ramadan is a month I look forward to every year to become a better person and strengthen my connection to my Muslim peers and my mosque. As the circumstances this year are clearly not ideal, I’m not sure what to look forward to for this month. I have never felt that way about Ramadan before, and it’s truly depressing.
April 22: I have been going on daily walks and realized just how many people are spending time outside in the midst of other people without wearing masks. Today, an old woman decided to approach me with her dog to have a conversation, failing to maintain a proper six feet distance. I understand that she didn’t have harmful intentions, but I still think that people should be a lot more aware of the severity of the situation we are in. Masks should be a norm, especially in places with a lot of people. We need to stop assuming that we are safe and that interacting with people without necessary precautions wouldn’t lead to detrimental consequences because that is simply foolish.
Ashley Yung, senior
March 20: I wake up to Instagram, teenage girls posting inspirational pictures, turning quarantine into a quote wall because we’re the lucky ones, affected mentally but hardly physically. I think about children on subsidized lunches, college students who can’t return home, displaced families and sick loved ones. I think about the burden that is ageless.
I think about every profession: small business owners, health care workers, etc. I read a New York Times article about the moral and ethical dilemma of whom to save during coronavirus, but internally, I know how easily it will be solved. Already, the rich pay for test kits regardless of the degree of their symptoms, while the poor cannot. I see a homeless man on the corner of In and Out begging for food and I come home to our stash of groceries. The internet tells me staying safe and healthy is warranted but all of my actions still feel wrong. I feel guilty constantly, but I can’t do anything.
March 26: Today was awful. I have no motivation. I got the email saying school was being pushed back more, and the reality of COVID-19 is really kicking in. I don’t know what I’m working toward because the future is so unperceivable and the end goals are so loosely defined. Instead, I try to distract myself with mindless television and reading books, but I’m afraid my mind will forget what paying attention feels like, what working hard and being social daily feels like. Today, the regular decision round of acceptance letters to my college went out, but I’m afraid no one will want to choose New York City because coronavirus cases are so awful there, and the estimated end date of the virus keeps being extended further and further back. NYC is being overwhelmed and looks like a ghost-town these days. I feel tentative not only about my senior year of high school, but also my whole freshman year of college. I just want this whole thing to be over.
March 31: I feel intensely weird. I spent all day practically lying in bed and thinking and overthinking and overthinking about overthinking. My mind is such a toxic place to be stuck inside and even writing in my journal, reading books, watching YouTube, activities that normally bring me solace, feel wrong. I feel so anti-social, connecting with others feels so contrived and wrong. The whole world feels wrong. I have less and less optimism about the future. I won’t ever get another day of high school. I’m saddened by how little I care, by how desensitized and apathetic I’ve become about life and the world at large. I used to want to make positive change, but I have never felt so weak and powerless.
April 14: I feel tired and sad. Constantly. I don’t understand what’s going on with my life, with my future, with my friends, with my extended family, with the nation and with the world. I’m running out of distractions and my mind cannot stop thinking. I’ve been going on lots of walks, calling lots of friends. The days passed by so slow yet so fast. At the end of the day, I reflect and feel like I’ve done hardly anything, and if I have, the actions of one day so closely mirror the actions of the past day. I’m mind-numbingly robotic, not submitting to any schedule but my wacked-up circadian rhythm.
April 22: I am doing alright, and these days, that is almost as good as doing well. I don’t know. I don’t know about my relationships, about my future, about everything I use to deem important. I’m having a really hard time falling asleep at night and I’m having a really hard time feeling motivated. I wish I could be more optimistic, but I feel like there’s no future for me or for our country. I can’t wait for quarantine to be over, to engage with real human beings and to exist in the world again.