The Journal-Republican asked for people to log their time in isolation and share it with our readers. Stepping up was Monticello High School sophomore Clara Rudolph.
If you are interested in taking part in this journaling effort, email J-R Editor Steve Hoffman at email@example.com.
Clara Rudolph is a sophomore at Monticello High School, and lives in Monticello. She writes for the school newspaper, is involved in LiveSafers and Student Council, and runs track and cross country at MHS.
Thursday, March 26
The coronavirus continues to creep closer and closer. Having no school is like a dream, a what-if, a fantasy, but I wasn’t prepared for the reality of it. I pictured hanging out with friends instead of contemplating how many more games of Sorry I have to play with my little brother in order for him to be sick of it.
I never imagined that Principal Clapp would be emailing the student body today, informing us that the Hilton Garden Inn is no longer able to host Prom for us. My mind immediately goes to all of the girls who already spent a countless number of hours shopping for the perfect prom dress. It’s crazy how quickly everything changes. Just a few short weeks ago, the coronavirus was far away in China, too distant to worry about. Now, it’s so near that public gatherings are limited to a max of 10 people. That’s smaller than my family!
Contrary to what society must think, not all teenagers are completely devastated by social distancing. Honestly, it’s refreshing to get a luxurious amount of sleep and wake up to the delight of having nothing required of you. There’s no place to hurry or deadlines to worry about. There’s a tranquility that I think the average day lacks.
Still, it’s strange to find my email exploding with the latest updates on what’s been cancelled. It’s even more strange to have my phone buzzing with the latest deaths every day. Life has always followed the same routine, but that routine is quickly crumbling.
Friday, March 27
I woke up and checked my phone as per usual. Instead of finding a message from a friend or a reminder about a test, I found out that Boris Johnson has the coronavirus. After checking my phone, I went straight to the kitchen to get my morning cup of coffee, an absolutely essential part of my day. Most days, there’s a fresh pot that’s one cup shy of being completely full. Today, the pot was nearly empty. With the whole family in quarantine, including my college brothers, there’s double the amount of coffee drinkers at home!
Despite the odd start to the day, I realized that there’s a lot of good to be found in being with my family. We all lead such busy lives, and this quarantine has really forced us to slow down. On an average day, I race off to school, head straight to practice, and then complete homework in my bedroom. I think this is the typical day for most high school students, but now it’s different, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Now, I have time to become closer with my family members. I have time to do things I wouldn’t normally do. I went on a four mile walk with my brother who attends college, and I realized that I don’t talk with him as often as I should. I spent a few hours playing games with my four year old sister, and I realized that I could use more of her contagious laughter. I cleaned up the kitchen with my mom, and I realized that I should help out more frequently. None of these are strange or unheard of actions, yet I’d never had the time to do any of it.
Sure, I’d prefer that life keep its stable, steady pattern, but we have to make do with what life throws our way. If that means quarantine, then we’ll have to make do with quarantine. It might not be my top option, but it’s definitely better than having the coronavirus rampage through my town.
Saturday, March 28
My weather app told me that the high for the day was 70 degrees. Visions of chirping birds, warm sunlight, a peaceful run, and PIG tournaments flooded my mind. By 12 p.m., we were hit with rain and warnings for a tornado. It seems that the only way to escape the coronavirus isolation is to get outside, but mother nature always manages to get in the way.
However, one thing that I’ve noticed on my runs is the number of people I see. I’ve pretty much been running consistently ever since I began high school, and never, not during summer, autumn, winter, or even spring, have I ever passed so many people. There’s so many people jogging, walking, or simply working outside in their gardens. It doesn’t matter that the weather is bipolar. Now that people have more time available, I think they’re exercising more. At least there are some positive outcomes of this seemingly endless quarantine.
Superintendent Zimmerman emailed students today about future learning plans. He informed us that we’ll be using Remote Learning Plans until school starts back up. He said, hopefully that would be sometime this school year. That line hit me like a ton of bricks. What if it wasn’t this school year? Sure, the idea that we would stay at home for the rest of the school year has been drifting in the air for quite some time, but it never seemed plausible. I always thought it was an idea that would stay in the air, floating, but never landing or coming through.
Now, some universities have already moved the rest of the semester to online courses. My high school could be next. What about all of the spring high school experiences? There are so many sports and activities that are being put on hold or possibly even discarded in the future. Freshman might not get to participate, and seniors won’t get to fully experience their last year of memories.
Sunday, March 29
A fresh week of quarantine lies ahead. Quarantine is this crazy gray area in between the school year and summer vacation. It’s a misfit, not fitting in either category.
The first week of quarantine, I noticed that I was always craving some sort of excitement or stimulation. It didn’t matter if it was a book, a movie, or a game; all I wanted was for something to entertain me. I think I can safely guarantee that I’m not the only person who felt that way. Why do people so desperately hunger for something to entertain them? Have humans always been this way? What about the people who lived long before us? They didn’t have the internet, television, or anything like that.
When I was a kid, I read and reread the “Little House on the Prairie” series a countless number of times. They were my favorite books. The Ingalls family lived alone in the woods without friends, phones, TV, or any form of entertainment, yet I don’t remember ever reading about Laura being bored. So why are we so prone to boredom now? Perhaps it’s because, back then, they were busy working, and even work has been taken from some of us. However, I remember that, especially as Laura grew into her teenage years, she spent most of her time helping others. She didn’t focus on entertaining herself.
Obviously, our situation and even culture is built very differently today. Still, I think that maybe we concentrate too much on keeping ourselves busy. One of my mom’s favorite things to say is, “Boredom never hurt anybody.” It’s true. Often, the best ideas come when you have quiet time to think. Obviously, it doesn’t hurt to have some amusement, but maybe I don’t need to rely on it as much. Still, I’m very grateful for my giant stack of library books and the “Hogan’s Heroes” marathons on TV that have helped me survive this unfortunate isolation.