These are trying times and we are all being affected. This pandemic means a different way of life for the next coming months, sending ripples of shutdown across the globe. On a lighter note, we are living through history, and we requested the help from our community to record it. While it might be something we all want to avoid thinking about right now, it’s something we will want to remember down the road. Everyone’s stories and feelings are valid, and we want to hear yours. If you would like to submit you own perspective, email it to [email protected] As a staff, the LN North Star has gathered multiple distinct perspectives from the community in dealing with this hectic time. Today, we will be focusing on responses from the graduating seniors, including a foreign exchange student, in the community.
Senior Helena Nolte, foreign exchange student from South Africa
My initial reaction to the news was I was just kind of stressed out because I knew a bunch of exchange students had been sent home so I was scared that I was going to be sent home. And exchange students everywhere were just freaking out. We were all freaking each other out because we knew that we were probably going to be sent home. So that was my initial reaction. But afterwards, my friends started bothering me because I realized that I could not say goodbye to my friends which is quite hard because they are people that completely change your life. And I think when you’re an exchange student, it’s really important for you to say goodbye and it helps with accepting that you’re not going to be able to come back to this life you have here. And so, just the fact that I’m probably not going to see most of my friends again hurts very much. But I’m just trying to stay thankful for the memories that I have.
A typical day, I just wake up at nine. I try to, at least. I try to learn some things to keep my mind busy and to exercise. And some things or events that have been affected in my personal life. In South Africa, people have been on mandatory lockdown for around three weeks. Basically, no one can leave their house unless they go to the supermarket and there’s a lot of strict rules like no purchase of alcohol or cigarettes, so this affects me because it meant that I couldn’t go home because the borders were being closed. But I’m glad because my president is handling it really well, at least.
The whole thing about the coronavirus, how it makes me feel, I guess it makes me feel disappointed that there’s a lot of things I couldn’t get to experience in my exchange year. But I try to look at it in the way that there’s a lot of things I did get to experience in my exchange year. And also, not that the coronavirus in any way is a good thing, I think it’s a horrible thing. But I try to look at it in the sense that I’m an exchange student here during this time. It is quite something to be here during a pandemic, and obviously the U.S. has the most cases in the world… So I’m trying to look at it in the way that this is a unique experience I get to experience in a different country than my own. I get to go back on repatriation flights, it’s a whole thing, and like I said, with the disappointment thing, I’m disappointed that I couldn’t see my friends or say goodbye to them or to my teachers. And that I didn’t get to experience prom or graduation. Once again, I’ve experienced so many things and I 100 percent have to be grateful and I am grateful for everything I got to experience here and also the fact that I’m so lucky I got to be here as an exchange student for free. The U.S. is sponsoring me to come here and live a crazy dream and learn, it’s a big part of my exchange year and everything that I’ve learned.
Senior Jala Durham-Peters
When the coronavirus was in China I thought it was another cover up type of thing and that it would pass quickly like Ebola. Compared to Ebola, in my opinion, it was never really in the U.S. People were freaking out over it, only for it to magically disappear within a few months meaning it was a cover up for something. I thought the coronavirus was the same situation. When the virus came to Indiana I didn’t feel any type of way until schools started closing down, then I started to get a little worried because my family has a lot of conditions like asthma that could cause the virus to be fatal if they got it. It affects me personally by not only my senior year being taken away but I wasn’t able to celebrate my birthday with my friends and family like I wanted. I’ve lost an uncle to the virus and my mother had it recently so I had to relocate to my Uncle’s house for a few weeks. Thankfully she beat it. I think we could have prepared for the virus. Such as the people who were out of the country should’ve had safety precautions when they got back, we could’ve started social distancing beforehand and taking the precautions we are taking now. I prefer actually being in school and with a teacher over Elearning and Zoom. I feel like I am teaching myself and I just don’t like it overall. For some of my classes I believe there was a change in workload. I have more work to do then I would in school but there are other classes where the workload is the same. One thing I miss now that we’re quarantined is work. I miss work because I miss getting paid and seeing my work family. I’ve taken for granted going to school, work, and going to fun places that I didn’t go to that much. The main thing I miss about school is Cat’s Eye. After lockdown, I will stay in the house until my job opens back up, and I can start working. I will definitely still continue the precautions even when we are free to go places.
Senior Adriana Brown
The beginning of my senior year was all a blur. Applying for colleges, turning in test scores, making sure I had all my graduation requirements, and waiting for acceptances. Everyday was the same routine, and every day I treated like it was a Monday. The only thing I worried about was what colors I was going to wear to prom. Little did I know, my senior year would come to an abrupt halt, and everything that a senior is expected to celebrate would come to an end.
Now that I am forced to teach myself my academics online and to distance myself from my close friends, I have realized all the moments I had taken advantage of. In the beginning, I didn’t want to go to prom. Matter of fact, the only reason I was going to go was because I was being pressured by my friends. I hated whenever my mom brought up planning for an open house, because I hate planning for events and I don’t like being the center of attention. I also didn’t like the fact that I had to sit in the same classrooms everyday in the same environment around the same people. Senioritis had hit me hard, and at that point I was ready to move on to the next phase of my life.
Despite missing out on a lot of my senior year, the Coronavirus pandemic has been a very humbling experience for me, and has led me to realize that I don’t need to grow up so fast, and I need to take every day day-by-day. Before the pandemic arose, I was so anxious to get out of high school, and to get out of Indiana. Now that I am forced to stay home and do everything from the comfort of my computer, everything that I took for granted I wish I could have back. I miss all of the little things, like buying $3 pizza for lunch, walking up and down the halls, taking pictures and posting Snapchat stories with my friends, and driving my teachers up the walls. Everything I felt so eager to get away from is now a distant memory, and now the only comfort I can rely on is talking to my friends through a cell phone screen.
Many times it is saddening, but I can positively say that I have grown dramatically as a person, and there is no doubt in my mind that I am graduating with the most strong and mature graduating class ever in the history of the world. The class of 2020 is graduating in June during a pandemic. How many people can say that? We are the survivors, and I couldn’t be more honored to be a part of history.
Senior Julio Valdez
The pandemic has taken many things away from me. I will have never attended a Lawrence North Prom. My last semester of high school was taken from me. All my valuable friendships and relationships are on pause. I will never be able to get the chance to be on the wall of fame. I won’t get a shot to aim at a Indiana All Star honor, nor will I be able to swing for a state title in the 4x800m with my boys. I will never have been able to qualify individually to the 1600m state championship and leave LN with a top 5 all time 1600m time. The team bonding will never happen. Memories that will have lasted a lifetime will not happen anymore. It’s truly tragic and sad. Now my life consists of work and sleep. There’s nothing much you can do anymore.
Senior Hannah Melick
It’s day one hundred and seven of quarantine. Or whatever it truly is, it honestly doesn’t make much of a difference.
I’m dealing with it as best I can, as anyone can. It’s still hard. Elearning is pretty tough. It’s hard when your mind is already checked out. Especially being a senior and being on the cusp of senioritis as it is, in class instruction turning into elearning just adds fuel to the flames in that it’s that much easier to ignore. Finding motivation in this time, as some might be able to relate, is hard. It feels as if the world has stopped moving. But time is still passing. It’s a contracting feeling, like all your responsibilities seem to lessen but at the same time, they’re still there. Part of me is worried about that the most. For when the world returns back to normal and things have to pick up where we left off… In a strange way, this pandemic has made me realize just how important human interaction can be and how we take all of these things for granted.
Being a senior especially is quite challenging. Not to invalidate the feelings of other classes, of course, but I think that we are entitled to have our moment of grief. It’s become apparent to me now more than ever that we won’t get our moment in the sun. This weekend was supposed to be prom. And now I’ll never get to experience that… Junior year, I didn’t go because “I always had senior year.” It’s funny. I was so convinced that 2020 was going to be the best year. With everyone building it up to be something spectacular to witness, and years of excitement for when I could proudly say “Class of 2020.” It just has a ring to it. Maybe it’s karma. I mean, I’m sure it had to have been super annoying. “Our graduation year is better!” Anyways, I digress. I wasn’t convinced that my senior year would be anything special. But having it taken away is something completely different. It’s hard. I was on a zoom call with my creative writing class a couple of weeks ago, majority being seniors, and when talking about it, someone said that these last couple of months were supposed to be what made senior year. That the build up towards the best parts of senior year was for nothing. It’s hard to get lost in it all, but it’s also humbling, in a way… I mean, we are graduating during a pandemic! Like what? Who else can say that? This’ll be one for the history books, kids. So maybe our graduation year wasn’t what we thought it’d be, but it’s still special in it’s own way. I know that’s an overly positive way to look at it, but it seems the only way to keep sane.