The last day of in-person school was March 12th; the entire student body and staff has been stuck in their houses since. Most people have been struggling during this time; some of the biggest struggles are caused by being so removed from friends and family while other struggles come from the general worry for others and the stress of the pandemic as a whole. One common thread is that everyone is working towards a common goal: flattening the curve and staying safe. However, everyone is coping in different ways, especially between the different grades at EHHS.
There are many different opinions on the quarantine as a whole. Some people believe that it is boring, others believe it is hard, some see it as a relief, and others think of it as a time for personal growth. Senior A’Maya Bell said, “It’s given me a lot of time to think about life, which direction I want to go in, as well as my personal beliefs.” Focusing on personal growth is a common way that many people have been coping with quarantine. Although, the almost universal way people have been coping is by just staying busy. Freshman Abby Brooks has been staying busy with many different activities. She said, “I’ve been baking a lot. I made three separate recipes of cookies, and then I tried to make bread but it just didn’t happen. The bread just didn’t rise. And then I planted cactuses. I’m a cacti mother. And then I’ve been hiking, and I’ve been running a lot.”
Another way the EHHS students have been keeping busy is by staying entertained. Sophomore Matt Gaudioso said, “I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix, TikTok, and Youtube.” Other students still have been concentrating their energy on the little bit of the outside world they can reach. Junior Bianca Apuzzo said, “Aside from school, I have been gardening a lot.” EHHS students have also been coping by keeping in contact with friends and teachers. Abby said, “Over the weekend me and my friends went out for a social distance lunch. And I’ve been emailing my teachers saying ‘what’s up’.”
Being at home has taken many people away from their extracurricular activities. A’Maya said, “The clubs I am currently involved in are: Honor Society, Books and Brownies, and Drama Club. I am very disappointed because I no longer have the opportunity to do service projects, have a good discussion about the books I am currently reading, and most of all, I may not be able to be a part of the school play, Catch Me If You Can. I was excited about the play because I was having fun seeing my fellow cast members and I really wanted to give them all, my best performance, as it is my senior year.”
Quarantine also has many students missing school. Bianca said, “I miss being in a focused setting and having the teachers in the room with me. It is really hard to teach yourself new things, especially in math.” Many students struggle to teach themselves new or difficult topics without a teacher right in front of them. Another thing that many students struggle with while being out of school is the general lack of interaction with people. A’Maya said, “I miss the face-to-face contact with people and the conversations I would have with my friends and teachers. There really isn’t anything like being present with someone else. Personally speaking, I enjoy hearing about what’s going on in other people’s lives, the small chat is a nice way to make connections with people.”
Even the most mundane aspects of out-of-school life are missed during the quarantine. Matt said, “Many restaurants have take-out food, but it’s not the same as going inside and eating.” Matt also talked about the difficulties of having no sports, “Tennis is a big part of my life year-round, and I would have been able to deal with the season being cancelled, but then they locked up every tennis court. People who play sports like soccer, baseball, and football have the option to play their sports anywhere outside during this time, but I need a court specifically meant for tennis.”
Quarantine has also separated people from their families. Bianca said, “I miss being able to go see my grandparents and my cousins. It has been a huge adjustment to not see them almost every week. I also really struggled with not seeing my family this Easter and not making palm crosses for everyone.” However, quarantine as a whole has given people a sense of community and that is a powerful motivator. Abby said, “And definitely, my mom is helping me a lot because she’s volunteering at the field hospital in New Haven. So just seeing her help all those people down there, is making me feel good through all of this, and to just continue what I’m doing.”
Quarantine has also been positive. People get to spend more time with their families than they would normally be able to. Students also feel less stressed than usual because they get to sleep in and they know that they have more time during the day to get their work done, as well as take breaks when they need to.
To help relieve stress, students should take care of their bodies. Some ways to do that would be by eating healthy, meditating, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep. Another great way to relieve stress is to unwind and do activities that you enjoy. Students should also connect with others and create a sense of structure for themselves. Quarantine has been stressful for everyone but staying connected will help everyone get through this difficult time.