Densely packed students shuffled through narrow hallways as the last school bell rang. They walked in compact lines, breathing on each other’s backs as they moved towards the exit. Some shared lockers, journals, and backpacks. On their way to the bus, they discussed the exciting news: a month-long spring break.
Nowadays people panic at the thought of this, but it’s exactly what happened last March when students were first informed about the high school’s response to COVID-19. But nobody could have predicted just how long they’d be away.
“It felt like a fever dream,” senior Cameron Snider said. “I was happy to be out of school for a while but nervous about what the future held.”
This mixed experience with the announcement was common for students during the break.
“After they announced we wouldn’t be returning to school after spring break I was heartbroken,” senior Ashlyn Spurrier said. “It was nice to have a break from school, but it was my last chance to spend time with the seniors and all of my friends.”
With the quarantine in full swing, students were left with months of time to fill. Some decided to focus on well-rounded self-improvement in this period.
“With the extra time I read a lot of new books,” Spurrier said. “I also got into an exercise routine that I normally didn’t have the time for.”
On the other hand, some students decided to focus on one specific skill.
“I learned how to juggle with three balls,” Snider said. “After I had learned three, I started practicing with four balls.”
Not being able to go to school, and with many activities being canceled, there was a strong struggle to stay productive while staying inside.
“There were times where I was fairly productive,” junior Jackson Maracle said. “It’s just hard as a teenager to use that much free time towards something productive rather than relaxing and having fun.”
Despite the roadblocks, some students persisted to further their academic and professional careers.
“I made sure to finish my online school every day,” Snider said. “I learned new skills and explored new hobbies. I even got a job stocking shelves at Walmart. It was a very productive period of time.”
Beyond the quarantine period, this experience has allowed some students to reflect on their values.
“[I learned to] cherish the time I have with others because it’s sad when you don’t get to see the people you care about,” Spurrier said.
With this new perspective, some look forward to changing their work habits.
“I think the biggest take away for me was that, though it may not seem like it, we have a lot of time,” Maracle said. “We fill our days with school most of the time, but if we really tried, we could do so much more with the time we have been given.”