Before COVID, I was like a racecar driver, always pushing myself to go faster, to work harder. My schedule was packed – high school, hours of extracurriculars, hours of homework, helping my brother with school, and trying to maintain a social life. Hard work, I knew, was the only way to achieve my goal to have an exceptional high school career. Needless to say, I was exhausted. No human can go 200 mph without taking a break.
And then COVID began spreading to the US. Within a week, coronavirus went from seeming so distant to being something I feared. On March 11th, all anyone at school could talk about was whether we would close or not. And that night, the Head of School sent out a newsletter confirming that, after a two week Spring Break, we would transfer to online school.
I didn’t know what to think – it had all progressed so fast. With current events, I was terribly concerned for the millions infected or at risk, as well as those losing their jobs over shutdown. On a personal level, my whole schedule had been thrown off – there was no work, no activities, and no tasks to complete. I thought about productive ways I could spend my break, but I figured for the first few days at least, I deserved an actual break. I binged TV, called friends, and played video games. A “few days” ended up extending to almost the entirety of break. For once, there was no thought of work in the back of my mind.
The day before online school began, however, I began pushing myself once more. I reviewed notes, got ahead on upcoming content, and organized all of my materials. I prepared myself to once more work towards my goal – COVID could not stop me from having an excellent end to the semester.
As online school began, I was shocked to find how easy it was. I only had each class 1-2 times a week and didn’t get much homework. My extracurriculars had either been cancelled or simplified. There was no longer a reason to travel at 200 mph.
For the first time in my high school career, I have time to do things that I love, just for fun. I’ve been reading constantly, allowing myself to get addicted to books in a way I haven’t since childhood. I’ve been working on photo projects, and I take my dog on frequent walks through a beautiful trail near my home. I bake recipes from scratch.
I am so lucky that I have not been too affected by coronavirus, and though the virus has not affected me, the change of pace has. This whole situation has taught me how silly it was to let my life fall into a stressful routine rather than enjoying each day. Going 200 mph does yield great results, but sometimes you have to slow down and enjoy the ride.