Sixteen & Quarantined

Sixteen & Quarantined by Lily Gold - Photo by Molly Voit

What day even is it? What month are we in right now? How many weeks have we been in quarantine? When is this going to end? What do I do with myself? These are just a few of the questions that I ask myself on a daily basis during quarantine. My whole routine and schedule has been completely kiboshed by the coronavirus. Considering that my life has pretty much revolved around school and classes, which have now moved online, my whole life has been altered temporarily. Then again, so has everybody else’s. And to keep things in perspective, so many people are dealing with much more than I am. Fortunately, my academic life is the majority of what is being affected by this quarantine. All of my classes for school are different, the AP exams that I’ve spent an entire year preparing for are changed, and the college process is still looming. However, on top of these things, the exciting and most memorable times of my junior year have also been “postponed.” Events such as my junior prom, my 17th birthday which is coming up, finally getting my driver’s license, and touring colleges for my future are on hold.

Even though it is hard, it’s important I try my best not to dwell on the things that I’ve lost or have been changed in the past few months. So far during quarantine I have taken up pretty much any activity or pastime to keep myself busy. These include—but are not limited to—working out, walking my dogs, reading a book, submitting to creative writing contests, corresponding with a Holocaust survivor, teaching myself to code, and writing this very article. I found keeping myself busy to be relaxing, in a way, because it prevented me from obsessing about all of the stresses that I needed to complete and study for by the close of my junior year (they may also have served as procrastination).

While this quarantine has been frustrating and unusual for many reasons, a part of me also feels that it is a blessing in disguise. It has given the world a break, and has forced people to see what really matters in life. Quality family time, for example, is something that this quarantine has provided me with. On a typical day, it would be just me, my dogs and my parents (after they came home from work). But in quarantine, it includes my whole family; siblings who would otherwise be attending college far from home, are now with me 24/7. Quarantine has also brought me to realize that getting a bad grade on a test is not the end of the world and in the grand scheme of things, it does not actually matter. What matters most is that we are all healthy, safe, and compassionate.

Quarantine has also given me ample time to pursue and explore my favorite passion. I have written more stories and read more books in these past months since quarantine started than I had throughout this whole year. While the coronavirus pandemic has caused me a lot of grief and anxiety, it has also taught me to appreciate the simple joys in life which I have often overlooked: writing, reading a good book, enjoying a beautiful day, and spending time with family.

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Lily Gold is a high school senior from Livingston, NJ. She attends Livingston High School where her favorite school subjects are history and photography. Outside of school, Lily enjoys reading, writing, and volunteering.
Accompanying photo by Molly Voit