The only time Marina Knowles and her grandmother leave the house is when Marina's mother drives to the supermarket and the two of them go along for the ride.

I moved from Bakersfield to Richmond about six months ago and was just starting to get adjusted to living here. The feelings of missing my hometown weren’t completely gone, but it was slowly getting better.

The shelter in place order changed almost everything. I couldn’t go to Bakersfield to get my braces off, prom was canceled and I didn’t get to visit my dad or any of my friends. Not knowing when this will all be over and things will go back to normal is pretty scary. It also makes it hard to make plans.

It seems as if whenever one thing in life is getting easier something even worse comes up. My mom still works, so she goes out almost everyday. She works for an organization that cares for children who have been taken from their parents.

She says that she is coping by seeing this as being an opportunity to give back to the community and being able to spend more time with family. My grandma and I, on the other hand, are not able to go anywhere. She is 66, so that puts her in the age bracket of people that are the most susceptible to getting sick.

She likes staying updated by watching the news, but hearing all of that information can be overwhelming for me. She and I ride in the car when my mom goes to the store, but we can’t get out. I didn’t think that one day I wouldn’t be able to go into a grocery store because it’s too risky.

I also never thought that I would miss school, but I do. It’s been hard not to see my classmates and teachers. I didn’t realize that all of the random conversations in class and catching up with my friends at lunch were such a big part of my life.

Doing schoolwork from home has been stressful. I have not yet been able to separate time for myself and school because it seems to all be mixed together.

It’s a lot easier to procrastinate, which leads to all of my schoolwork piling up at the end of the week. Part of me thinks that the workload from my classes has increased, but that may be because I’m used to doing the work in a classroom setting.

Distance learning will get easier over time, but I hope that by the next school year everything will be back to normal. I wish this not only for school, but also for everyday life because I haven’t seen anyone in Bakersfield in months. I was hoping to go down there for the summer to visit my family and friends and I would hate for that to be cancelled as well.

Before everyone was forced to stay home, I was definitely happier and looking forward to summer. To keep myself from getting too down about all of this, I’ve been trying to focus on the present.

Thinking about the past and the fun things that I used to be able to do make it harder to be happy with my life right now. That’s also true with thinking about the future. Focusing on the future seems to almost be impossible because everything is so uncertain.

I hope that someday soon we will all be back to our usual lives.


Marina Knowles is a student at Richmond High School in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. She is a staff writer of the West Contra Costa Student Reporting Project.

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