The excitement I felt when I walked through the doors of my high school this past September was unlike any other. Seeing people’s faces (even though this year, it is with masks and socially distant) was something I never thought would make me so happy. I chose to do “hybrid learning”, which was two days in school and three days online. I would wake up each morning, excited for the days ahead when I would get to go to school in person. Even with masks on, just to feel everyone’s energy was amazing. I was hopeful that this in person learning would last…but continuing with the theme of disappointment that 2020 has brought, it did not.
After one single week, we were shut down for two weeks due to a few kids testing positive for Covid. We get back 14 days later, and the schools are shut down again in a matter of 6 days. I have not been back in school since. Every two weeks they say “you’ll be back in two weeks” and then, come 14 days later, we hear “you’ll be back in two weeks” once again. It’s been that never-ending cycle for almost two months.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I, of course, understand that no one is at fault for shutting down the schools, they gotta do what they gotta do to keep us safe. I am not mad at the schools, or anyone for doing this – in fact, I’m glad they are putting the safety of the town first! I’m just…not doing too well in this new virtual world, as I’m sure many of my peers are not as well. Things…aren’t great.
Here’s the thing…I just CANNOT LOOK AT A SCREEN ANY LONGER!
There is simply no motivation anymore, in general. There is no motivation to get up earlier than 5 minutes before my classes, when I can just roll out of bed and hop on a zoom. I tried the whole, “Do something productive with your morning before your meetings, like a workout, to motivate you!”…didn’t work. And there is no motivation to do my work in a timely manner. I sit at my desk, all day, in school from 7:30 am-1:30 pm, then in a rehearsal for the virtual school play from 2 pm-6 pm. Am I expected to then do my homework that is ALSO looking at a computer? I cannot sit at my desk for 11 hours a day, then sit at my desk for another few hours doing my homework that is also online (I know people with office jobs do this every day and let me just say I don’t know how you do it without going insane. I applaud you).
I also feel as if this loss of motivation has to do with the uncertainty we are experiencing. We’ve been in a virtual world since March, but I was more motivated to do stuff then. In March, we were ignorantly blissful, thinking the world would only remain like this for a few weeks. I thought I would return to school in two months tops. Now, there is talk of not going back to school until 2021 or even 2022…for me, the lack of knowledge we have about the future makes it very hard to stay motivated.
My focus is also practically gone. It is just so difficult! I cannot focus in class anymore. I don’t even go on my phone during class, I keep in another room so I don’t get distracted. But even without the phone, there are so many distractions at home. Since we are obviously not in the room with the class, it is so difficult to stay engaged.
And don’t get me started on the various virtual mishaps I experience per day: The teacher thinks they’re presenting but they’re not, there’s no due date on the google classroom assignment, your audio cuts out, your terrible wifi kicks you off the zoom, your printer breaks so you have to copy down everything when you can’t even keep up to begin with, you can’t ask all the questions you used to cause your teacher doesn’t see your hand up on the screen, the teacher can’t hear you, you can’t see them, and so on.
And we still have tests, and quizzes, and essays…and I can barely pay attention in class. It is nearly impossible to keep up with what’s going on. I have always been a very good student. And I still get good grades, I just feel as if I’m not really learning anything. It is just so difficult to keep up with my classes or even have the simple motivation I used to while in this virtual world.
I also just miss connection.
As I mentioned before, I am putting on a virtual play at my school. It is a very heavy, emotional show. To do a show like that through a screen is more emotionally draining than I can put into words. Usually, the cast would all lean on each other for support, whether that be simply giving a hug or taking your friend out of the room when the topic gets too tough to handle. Obviously, since we are not even in the same room, we cannot do that. I have to sit through rehearsal, tears rolling down my face, on mute, alone in my room. And it just breaks my heart that I cannot give my best friends hugs when I see them on my computer screen, teary-eyed too.
What also breaks my heart, is the connections that cannot even be formed in the first place. For example, the freshmen in the play have never met a majority of the cast in person. I would normally be making friends with them by now, hanging out after rehearsal and just making new friends in general… but of course, that cannot happen.
This new world (although I guess it’s not new, being that it’s been like this for 9 months) is just…exhausting. And it’s difficult to stay hopeful. I guess the only thing to do is to count our blessings during a time where so many have so little to be thankful for. Just the fact that I’m able to own a computer to go to school is something I should be grateful for.
*Sigh* But hopefully soon, we will not need to be looking at these computers all day, every day and we’ll finally be able to form true connection, once again.
Liv Mazz, aka The Lone Teen, is a suburban 14-year-old living with her father, brother and Havanese puppy. She is an eighth grader who enjoys spending time with friends in downtown Westfield NJ.
When not hanging out with her friends, you can find her dancing up a storm at her longtime dance school, running lines to audition for her next show or singing a ballad on stage. Liv also loves to spend time with her giant Italian family by enjoying a Sunday dinner and great conversation. She cannot wait to begin sharing her story as a not-so-average teen and is super excited to be a brand new addition to The Daily Feels.