The pinging sound of my alarm clock shatters my ears. I rolled over to my side, wincing at the twinge which shrivelled down my spine. I unplug my phone, glancing at the time: 6:00. I go about my usual morning routine: shower, breakfast, homework. When the clock hits 7:40, I board the bus.
When I arrive at school, I am met with the sight of students in a single file line, waiting to get their temperatures checked. Two girls are in the corner giggling, but the rest are either staring into empty space or slouching to check their Instagram feed. It had never phased me that once upon a time students stood on this very same asphalt jesting, the atmosphere piqued with joviality. Students would have congregated in groups of ten or fifteen and banter until it was time to make their way to their classes. Yet here we stood: physically six feet apart, socially, millions of miles more.
Some days, as I walk the empty halls, I enjoy the vacancy. Six months of limited human interaction has caused the faces of strangers to turn strange, and those familiar to turn even stranger. What were once faces I would greet every passing day I can no longer recognize, half covered by a piece of fabric. Some days, waiting for the school day to finish is like watching grass grow, perhaps due to the psychological effect of a desolate classroom. Teachers’ prior verbose lectures have now been shortened to a mere here is the basic idea, now you learn by yourself. I am enamored with this new style of learning. The constraints of my peers does not impede on my learning pace, yet I am genuinely concerned for the students who had never made it a point in the past to ask for help. From a young age I have been given the resources to comprehend self-education such as books, classes, and parental support. But not everyone has had access to such resources. One of the constant questions which persistently tantalizes my mind is how will this event perpetuate inequity. Will the progress we have made as of now be rendered inconsequential? As I walk the halls, which no longer contain orange peels and other items obtained from the cafeteria, I wonder.
The following day, my alarm shrieks me awake. The same familiar pain shoots down my back. I wince, glancing at my phone: it is Wednesday, 7:15. I make my way down, following my familiar morning routine, I side down for my first class at 8:45. Again I live through the usual day: sit down, listen, and learn. However, I must say the sitting has been very taxing on my back. Contrary to my prior expectation, I have grown quite fond of virtual school days. The liberty to wear my polar-bear fluffy pjs at home or perhaps even the opportunity to meander down to the kitchen and get a snack. Over the past months since school has started, I have developed an affinity for my house, one might call it sickening. Such affection has restricted me to my comfort zone. One day, as I dragged my feet along the shiny school floors, it occurred to me–I am confined by the assurance of my purple bedroom walls and am unwilling to leave my newfound residence of stagnation.
It is COVID-19 which has shocked me to this abysmal state. The cheers of my fellow peers I had once thrived off of, have been turned to courteous zoom smiles. It was my highest highs and my lowest lows which had driven me to persevere. Yet with the cancellation of numerous events, my life was driven to a state of monotony. There are no zeniths nor nadirs. Life goes on as it does, every single day. Here I stand stuck in a perpetual cyclic state of life.