The Perspective of A High School Senior In Quarantine
“The teachers were just preparing us. A lot of the teachers told us to bring whatever we could home. I remember telling one teacher that we might as well bring everything because I know we're not going to be back for a while....I thought we'd be back. I remember packing all my stuff in the locker and the teachers were saying bye and it kind of felt like the last day of school. I had a feeling like we weren't going to come back.”
My sister Tianna is in her senior year of high school. COVID-19 has affected her experience in a different way than my own. When I asked her about her experience as a senior, she expressed it was disappointing because all of the senior events were cancelled, graduation was postponed and the ceremony might be online. “I don’t get to have a prom, or senior trip. I didn’t get to have senior pranks." She has also had to adjust to online learning and having a tremendous amount of work. As a sister, it’s hard to watch her get frustrated during a year that is supposed to be a time to enjoy her adolescence and achievements, before entering a new phase of her life.
Tianna has not had much to do at home since she finished her classes. I find her repeating the same routine everyday like a broken record. Using her computer, braiding her hair, taking care of her birds and doing her makeup. Our parents understand the situation we are experiencing. My mom spends seven hours a day in a chair, five days a week, teaching her remote elementary school class, and my dad is an essential worker who is also taking online classes.
To step away from our computers for a while, my family created a routine to travel once a week. On one trip we went to Cooper Union, the college my sister will be attending in fall of 2020. It was upsetting for all of us to not be able to go inside of the building, but we were still excited to walk around campus. We took pictures around the perimeter of one of the main buildings. On another trip, we went to City Island. It was very relieving to be able to spend time with family and see the Bronx outside the car window. These trips have helped us escape from the stress of being confined in the house for most of the week.
One gift that quarantine has given me is the extra time I get to spend with Tianna. Photographing her allows us to both look inward and contemplate our feelings towards the pandemic. Attending the same school as her has also played a role in my understanding of her senior year experience. I feel connected to her because we are going through this pandemic together, and we can relate to each other. I'm a freshman in high school and I feel I didn't get the full freshman experience because of COVID-19. Attending the same school as her has given us the opportunity to talk and relate more. On one of our own trips, we went bike riding and bonded more. I look forward to spending more time with her, and hope for a better school experience for the both of us during the fall semester of this year.