By Shayna Levy
I think at least once a week, I would complain about school and say ‘I wish I was a dog. They just get to stay home and do nothing all day.’ Crazy how true that became. And, now that I have sat around and done nothing all day, in a weird way, I miss school. I definitely don’t miss staying up well past midnight or having three tests in one day, but I miss talking to my friends when we’re supposed to be doing our work and walking through the halls during passing periods.
For me at least, the scariest part of all this is there is no one to reassure me that it will be okay, because no one knows what is going to happen next. I feel like the light at the end of this long, dark tunnel is getting farther and farther away. It’s hard to stay positive when everything you’ve been excited for or looking forward to is being canceled.
If I could even attempt to try and put into words how I feel right now, I think I would say incomplete. I’ll never be able to finish my 8th grade year, or even middle school. I never got to take that geometry test I spent three hours studying for so I would get a good grade on it, or finish the project I started in English. It’s so weird to drop everything, and at the same time I know I’m not alone, and I know we aren’t the first generation of kids to experience putting our lives on hold.
I like to think about the fact that we’re, literally, making history. I know we’re, technically, always doing that, but as my mom put it “This is one for the books.” I like to think about how in 20 years, we’ll be remembering this time as a time when the whole world stayed inside and we overcame this virus together.
I think the reason we feel so alone is because no one is quite sure what to do, and this is affecting everyone differently. Even though we are not alone and everyone is going through this together, being isolated in your house sure makes you feel alone. For students, it’s a school year that ended too soon, too many happy memories not yet made. Adults, like my parents, have to rethink what their work looks like during this time, and this is just another year. They’re not missing out on their senior prom or graduation. For everyone in the medical field, this time is scary and they are so overwhelmed.
The best thing we can do is stay home to flatten the curve. Stay home for the people who can’t, like people who need to work right now so they can put food on their tables, or the doctors and nurses without enough supplies. Stay home for the elderly and immunocompromised, who may not recover as well as you from this virus.
One thing that has helped me through this time is music. Music has always helped me cope and has been more helpful than ever these past few weeks. One artist I’ve been listening to a lot of is P!nk, because her songs remind me that it will be better someday and reminds me to stay strong during the rough times. Her voice is so comforting, and she has a song for almost every mood. And even though it seems like we’re worlds apart, my friends have been extra important to me right now. We text on our group chat constantly and are always sending updates to each other about how our quarantines are going.
Distance learning started in early April. I’m worried about how it is going to go. It’s going to be so hard for the teachers to direct teach, and I’m anticipating worksheet after worksheet. I fear there will be repercussions of not being in school for two months and not knowing what to expect for my next school year. I also worry my transition to high school is going to be harder than ever. I know how easily I get distracted, so we’ll see how self-disciplined I can be at home, with my phone, laptop, TV, the kitchen, and so many other things.
I hope everyone is staying happy, healthy, and home during this time. And remember, we are apart not alone.
Shayna Levy was twelve years old when she “interned” for Iron Butterflies Project where she helped interview Iron Caterpillars. She worked closely with us as she was preparing for her bat mitzvah in the fall of 2018. Shayna is so excited to be partnering with the Iron Butterflies Project again to share her experiences about being a teenager during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
She lives in Austin, Texas and is currently in the eight grade at Murchison Middle School. Shayna lives with her mother, father, younger brother, and two dogs. She enjoys reading, writing, braiding hair, and riding her bike through her neighborhood. When she grows up, she either want to be a copyright lawyer, an author, or an inspirational speaker. Shayna also enjoys hanging out with her friends and family.