Six and a half months to reflect. What did we learn?

Elise Johnson, Editor-in-Chief

2020 has been a long year. From the Coronavirus outbreak ending all sense of normality in March to the tragic passing of Supreme Court Justice and progressive icon, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it is hard to find comfort in these trying times. 2020 has seemingly done nothing but take more and more from each and every one of us, which is why it is important to take a moment in our hectic lives and reflect on what 2020 has given us.

One unexpected gift from quarantine is time. This has been a time to learn and a time to reflect. Yael Baaith-Ducharme ’23 explained, “This year really gave me a lot of time to myself which was definitely an interesting experience. Because there was a lot of extra time, I really just tried a lot of new things. The main thing I found myself doing was cooking though, and that was a really fun yet challenging thing for me.” Baaith-Ducharme also noted that her new hobby has “taught me a lot about patience.” Indeed, there are many aspects of quarantine which have tested our patience. Maxine Chou ’21 noted, “Quarantine has been pretty isolating, so I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again.” Ellie Criscimagna ’23 commented similarly that she too was excited about “reconnecting with my fellow classmates in new and creative ways.” The new hybrid learning system has been great for allowing students to interact with each other once again. Lily Anderson ’22 added, “For me, quarantine really forced me to realize that for my mental health, I really need to have that social interaction with others outside of my family, which is something I was unable to do for months. I could tell my mental health was going downhill during this period, and I didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel until those restrictions were starting to gradually lift.” While safety is of the utmost importance, mental health awareness is a rising concern. Michelin Mcmansu “I miss small daily interactions with colleagues and students. A quick joke or connection- I miss that a lot.” Hybrid learning provides key social interaction that many of us have been lacking. For more information and perspectives, see the article that Henry Wieman ’21 wrote on hybrid learning.

During quarantine, some students have found socially distanced ways to maintain connections. Thomas Ellis ’23 explained, “We have aunts and uncles that visit for a few hours weekly and stay a safe distance away in our backyard.” Being able to visit with family with friends outdoors has been very helpful for keeping students safe and connected. Purposefully taking time to get away from the screen and engage in self reflection has been beneficial as well. Aniyah Barnett ’22 commented, “During quarantine, I think I learned more about myself. I learned what I truly wanted for myself and what I didn’t want, whether that was in relation to school, relationships, or my mentality. I started to focus on myself more and my goals. I started working out regularly and creating a daily routine for myself as well!” Quarantine has been good at forcing students to take on more personal responsibility for their own well being. Without the structure of going to school everyday to get them out of the house and away from the screen, students have had to find ways to keep themselves active and engaged.

Quarantine has not been easy. However, it is important to remember that, as Anderson noted, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. With patience and understanding, we will get through this together.