As a daughter of parents who both work in the healthcare system, this virus has disrupted normal family life and our regular routine. It has been extremely stressful, due to the increased possibility of my parents catching COVID-19 from a patient since they can not truly stay at home. While my parents do disinfect their belongings before entering the house, we mainly isolate ourselves from one another. We no longer have family dinners, and most of the time we only talk to each other through closed doors. When my parents are gone to work, I have a greater degree of responsibilities as I have to be more independent.
I never thought my daily routine could become much more mundane – until now. Without the face-to-face contact with people outside of my family, I have become lonely and bored. Nowadays, my routine consists of finishing school work, taking a nap, eating meals, working out, and going on social media. Although I sometimes go outside to walk and run laps around my driveway and backyard, my skin has lost color since I mostly spend my time indoors. My eyes have become greatly strained at this point, because they are glued to a screen most of the time. I am paranoid when I hear sneezing or coughing. The paranoia has caused me to constantly wash my hands, to the extent that they are slightly discolored and very dry.
It is emotionally draining to go out into public to shop for necessities; I receive hateful stares from people because of my ethnicity. The stereotyping that Asians have to face has become worse as a result of this virus, as people are either scared of us or view us with contempt.
While this pandemic is truly terrible, there are lessons to be learned from the experience. Having to stay inside and not being able to go outdoors has made me appreciate things I took for granted: seeing friends inside school, going out to eat in a restaurant, working out in the gym, and watching movies in an actual theater.
I used to hate the thought of having to wake up at 7 a.m everyday to physically go to school, but this situation has made me desire the simple act of going to school and seeing my peers. Personally, the biggest takeaway from this experience is to truly live your life to the fullest. We will never know if a situation like this will ever happen again, but it would be much more comforting to feel a sense of closure knowing you went to that last concert, hangout, event, did that thing you always wanted to so.
Arthea Valderrama is a junior at Verona High School. This commentary was first published in the VHS newspaper The Fairviewer and is reprinted with permission here. You can read more student perspectives on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in The Fairviewer.
Photo by Metin Ozer on Unsplash