365 Days in a Daze

Here are eight different stories and experience from a high school students perspective navigating life through a pandemic.

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photo by Amanda Brauchler

Header image for the “365 Days in a Daze” Students reflect on a year since the first lockdown, March 13, 2020.

by Staff, Reporter

The 2021 Rock Media staff reflected on the past 365 days of the pandemic. March 13, 2020 schools across America were told that they would be transitioning into remote learning for a two-week break. That two weeks lead to a year of frustration, anxiety, various schedule changes and uncertainty. Exactly one year later, March 13, 2021, Rock Media students chose a unique way to portray their year of chaos to share with the world.

Kira Zizzo ’22

There’s a lot on my mind. This past year has brought about unprecedented changes, events, and controversies. It’s occupied my headspace. The Coronavirus has been the root of it all, as I experienced my entire life change and witnessed others losing theirs. The politicization of this pandemic has been the topic of another dimension of thought in my mind. The country has become polarized due to politics, causing additional stress and division: the last thing needed during a pandemic. Not only have there been tremendous political and pathological changes, but there have also been social movements.  We became more socially conscious of the injustices, political failures, and flaws in our society. In response, we became emboldened with a drive to advocate for racial, political, and other societal changes. As I bore witness to the rapidly changing world around me, I internalized and ruminated over these changes, living in my head. This year, everything has been on my mind.

 

 

Luka Owen ’21

What on earth was I thinking? I sat there, in the rusty old lawn chair in the middle of the rocks in my backyard, wearing only boxers, with my hair soaking wet from washing it underneath the sink. Out came my dad with his kit, which he opened up to reveal a single pair of all purpose shears and an electric razor. I could not believe I let him talk me into being my quarantine barber, I guess finally bought into his story about “cutting hair at the fraternity house in college”, and at this moment I was feeling regret. It was about to be my first haircut in four months, which marked the same time that I had been in school last, the middle of March

It did not start off too bad. My dad was very procedural, taking his time to assure he would not give me a hack job for the history books. But when the sky turned to grey, I began to worry, and in a matter of minutes the clouds opened up into pouring rain. It came down in sheets, heavy with big drops, and it showed no signs of letting up. I figured my dad would throw the shears back in the kit and call off the dogs, but he just kept cutting. So there I sat, in just my boxer shorts, in the pouring rain, getting a haircut from my dad in my own backyard.

Just imagine if myself from mid-March had seen that photo, what would I have thought then? Perhaps that I had lost some sort of bizarre bet or that my dad was picking up an obscure side job. But no, that was just us rolling with the punches of an incredibly peculiar season. Because when there are no barber shops open because of a global pandemic, there is nothing wrong with taking matters into your own hands.

Maybe there was some glimpse of happiness in such a dark time. A kudos is needed for finding ways to adapt, taking risks, and trying new things in a year that went rogue.

 

Nathan Engler ’21

“With this image, I was trying to convey the emotion of isolation and confinement that many people have had during this pandemic. Seeing the beautiful outside world while being restricted to being in your own house has really made people lose touch with reality,” Nathan Engler ’21 said.

Grace Uhrain ’24

It feels as if it was just yesterday, but at the same time, a decade ago. We were told that it would only be a few weeks, then things would be normal again. I can distinctly remember one of my teachers telling us to take everything we had at school home. Walking out, my arms were full of binders, folders, and I was carrying a rental viola with its case in one of my hands. Because I was carrying so much, there was one thing I could not take: my locker shelf. I am not sure why this matters to me, after all it’s just a shelf, but sometimes I wonder about it. Is it still there, or was it taken during sanitization? To me, it represents what life was like before.

That spring and summer, I made it my mission to occupy myself with anything I could. I did every single school assignment because I didn’t want to be behind the next year. I FaceTimed my friends and went on walks in my neighborhood. I made a schedule for myself, the hours 8:00-3:00 completely organized with school work and other projects. The summer would be more challenging. Luckily, I had made arrangements to self-study Spanish 3 so I could be in Spanish 4 this year. I wrote down notes and quizzed myself on the vocabulary and grammar. I even made a test for myself each week. 

Despite doing this, I was still bored. I remembered reading a short story by Dostoyevsky in 8th grade that inspired me to become a more enlightened person while I couldn’t do what I wanted. I made it my mission to better myself while I was unable to directly interact with the outside world. Being someone who enjoys language and literature, I continued teaching myself French from a book I’d gotten on my 14th birthday. Now, I can read and understand basic French. I also taught myself the Cyrillic alphabet so I could understand the pronunciations of Russian words. After realizing that I didn’t know how to code, I started a coding course on Codecademy for Python. I also decided I would teach myself how to play the piano (as I had a keyboard in my basement) and how to play the violin on the viola (since I did not have a violin). I spent time with my parents and walked my dog around the neighborhood each evening. People who I have talked to have said that I spent my time well, but I still spent much of my time bored. 

I went back to school in August with a hybrid model. I was very careful. I wore a multi-layered mask and a face shield. However, I had to be quarantined in November because I had been exposed. The reality set in that I could spread the virus to other people and not know it. This particularly concerned me about my parents, whom I did not want to spread the virus to. I decided I did not want to go to school in person the next semester unless my parents were vaccinated.

Now that it has been a year, I can look at the situation differently. I feel as if I have gained wisdom and patience that I otherwise would not have had. The pandemic has taught me to look for the most important things in life: not how popular you are or how many places you go, but that you do what you believe is the right thing. I’ve been criticized for staying home, but I know it is the right decision for my family, and that’s what matters. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccinations will be available to everyone in a few months. I’m turning 16 in June, so I won’t have very much longer to wait. This pandemic has caused me to become more mature, more patient, more aware, and I will carry those things with me for the rest of my life.

 

Murrie Dodge ’23

“The past year has been very difficult for everyone, and my painting is showing how much covid has changed everyday life, and the isolation that accompanies not being able to see people’s faces, as they are hidden under a mask,” Murrie Dodge ’23 said.

Ben England ’22

One year. It has been one year since COVID has started. A lot can change in one year. It may be relationships, friendships, hairstyles, music taste… a lot can change in a year.

Over the years many things have changed. I’ve decided to go over three things I miss, six good things that happened, and 5 things I look forward to after this year. 

3

  • I miss the crowds. The sensory and adrenaline overload with all the crowds. Everything felt normal. You were in a crowd of thousands of people and everyone had their own story. Their own life. Their own dreams. You just didn’t know a person. 
  • I miss seeing people’s faces. I miss being able to just smile at someone and hope to know that I made someone’s day a little bit brighter. 
  • I miss being able to go to concerts and games. I miss the feeling of walking into the arena or amphitheater and everyone is extremely excited. The artist plays that one song and everyone is crammed together dancing and singing. I miss it. 

6

  • One good thing that happened during COVID was that I got to become closer with my family. Whether it was watching a movie or actually having a family dinner with all of us, being locked in a house brought us all together. 
  • Another good thing was that during some time, a lot of us came together. Everyone was supporting each other to get through the pandemic. The nation felt very together. 
  • Another good thing was that with a lot of people stuck at home, carbon emissions had a record low amount in today’s day. The Earth began to heal itself. It was beautiful. 
  • Another good thing was during the Summer, much of the country came together to fight Racial Injustice. People came together to make a change. People stood up for what they believed in and they made their voices heard. 
  • Entertainment was at a peak. Whether it was the hit tv shows “Outer Banks” or “The Tiger King” or it was the musical “Hamilton” being put on Disney+, the people were entertained. I remember when I stayed up the entire night, much like everyone else, to watch all of Outer Banks. 
  • Finally, with everyone locked at their homes they need something to make it more exciting. A pandemic puppy. Many animal shelters were all out of pets to adopt because they were all adopted! 

5

  • I’m looking forward to being able to finally go on my family trip to London. A trip that was supposed to happen in May of 2020, we now wait eagerly to be able to go on that trip safely. 
  • I can’t wait to get back into the mosh pit and dance for an hour and a half with random people I have never met to our favorite artist. Concerts coming back will be extremely exciting. 
  • I am excited to continue this great relationship I have blossomed with my family into the coming years. With college coming in just over a year, I am excited to spend quality time with my family before I have to head off. 
  • I am excited to be back at the Pepsi Center, now Ball Arena, to cheer on my favorite sports teams. Which will actually be happening one week from today, March 28 which shows some normal coming back. 
  • Overall, I am excited to see people. I am excited for people to come out and come back to normal. I am excited to see people’s smiles. I am excited to hug people. I am just excited for life to come back to normal.

 

Svea Erickson ’23

“This drawing symbolizes what I have felt throughout these 365 days. My inspiration was using the word “covid” and writing it over and over again to draw my person. Also including a drawing of a mask it shows what everyone has been through and how someone’s expression can be covered by the mask and how it goes unseen,” Svea Erickson ’23 said.

 

Calvin Edlund ’23

“I felt like COVID made everything so much more difficult for me and a lot of other people I knew. A normal thing that I did everyday became a hurdle that piled on top of everything else daily,” Calvin Edlund ’23 said.