Jean Augustine Secondary School

Brampton, Ontario, Canada

SK is a Grade 12 student at Jean Augustine Secondary School.

Social distancing — a phrase that I hadn’t heard of until that afternoon. The day of my eighteenth birthday, a special day. A potential week full of joy during the March Break turned into uncertainty. It was hard to gain perspective on an issue that did not make sense to me at the time. A pandemic? Being in quarantine? They were unfamiliar terms that are all too familiar now. I had never felt as lost as I had during the
two weeks because it was hard to abide by the rules given to us by the government. I was living in between a grey hue. I didn’t understand why it was affecting me so much at the time, but my life felt like it was out of balance, unable to gain sight of reality.

I thought I knew myself well until I started to stay at home. It has allowed me to find parts of myself that were undiscoverable. I was always so used to my lifestyle and the routine that I had set for myself that I forgot to take a look at how I was doing internally. Don’t get me wrong; I liked it. I loved being on a grind every day. I also think that it was within my comfort zone as compared to how my lifestyle looks like right now. Quite
ironic, don’t you think? Preferring to go to school and working instead of being home? It was something that I wished to happen every day, not too long ago. Waking up at 6:15 to check Twitter and see whether or not it was a snow day just so that I can stay home in bed for a little bit longer. And then, getting out of bed being disappointed because I had to go to school.

All of that changed very quickly for me. At home, I am confined in my room, where I now use it for more than just sleeping; it is my entire life now. I miss being outdoors and meeting the ones that are closest to me. It was something I took for granted. I always knew that I was going to see my friends again the next day, so there was no need for me to feel like I had to say goodbye or hug them one last time. It’s something different
when you’re at home and talking to your friends on social media, and then it’s something entirely different when you are right next to them. Everyone needs closure sometimes, and it’s hard to get that when everyone is far away from you. Perhaps it’s not even a person. It could also be a place that made you feel at ease. I understand that keeping a safe distance is for everyone’s safety, but who knew being at home could be this painful?

Nevertheless, being at home has also been one of the greatest blessings. I’ve learned that one cannot possibly learn everything about life when you’re living in a loop — going to school, going to work, making money. It was nice for sure, but being home has been a wake-up call to reality. To align my priorities, to focus on myself, and to appreciate my friends and family. Things that I’ve always overlooked. “What is something that
I’ve always wanted to do, but never put my time into it?” I asked myself. The answer was pretty simple: to start blogging again. Having a blog has been something that I use to express myself and my interests over the years, but I never really committed too much time into it because of other things that I’ve always prioritized. So, I told myself that I would try to start posting on there again and turns out, I had quite a few things to write about. The reason why I mention this is not to get people to be extra productive every single day because the truth is, I have my lazy days as well. And that’s okay! However, I want everyone to take a step back and perhaps think of all the good things that they could be doing instead while we’re at home.

I think of this pandemic and being in quarantine to be a form of a creative prison. If we cannot change the situation, let’s change the way we react to it. Right now, we have all the time that the world can offer us to stay home and create. To pick up old and new hobbies and spend time on it, to do things that we always thought that “we didn’t have time for.” The best thing that I’ve learned during this short period, and something that I would advise everyone else is just to take it slow. Embrace every moment that you have right now because you’re home. And that, could be your greatest blessing.

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