Life. There are big parts of it and exciting events that occur along the way, but there are also normal things. These normal things don’t seem extraordinary — they may even seem boring — but these are the things that genuinely keep us going. Currently, we are quarantined in our house with our families. We can’t go to school or work, and the only reason most of us leave our house is to go to the grocery store. Before this happened, we went to school and work almost every day, and we didn’t always want to go because we thought it was boring or repetitive. Maybe we thought our teachers had an easy job and only came to work every day because they had to, just like we go to school because we have to. We’d hang out with friends on the weekend because we were sick of being in our houses with our families on weeknights. This tragedy changed everything about how we live our day-to-day life and it’s proving to all of us that those normal things we do every day are more important than we truly understood.
As soon as this online schooling began, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I missed school. As each day goes on, I long to walk through the front doors of my school and see all my friends and teachers. Before, I wasn’t a huge fan of school. I didn’t always want to wake up and do things, and I counted down the days until the weekend. I never really thought about what would happen if I wasn’t allowed to go to school. Now that this is the case, I realize I am incredibly lucky to go to school. Some people don’t receive as good an education as I do; some don’t receive one at all. I wouldn’t have most of the friends I do today without school, and I definitely wouldn’t see them as often if I didn’t go to school. When we return to school after quarantining, I’m going to try to remember how lucky I am to be there.
One thing that is truly remarkable about this whole experience is seeing the average everyday worker, for example a grocery store cashier, become one of the most important assets to sustaining our society since it has come to a halt. Before this event, people didn’t give a lot of credit to cashiers and restaurant employees because they’re minimum wage jobs. People in this country tend to value money over everything, so the true importance of certain things can be faded by the hunger for money. Now, all nonessential businesses are closed and these people are the ones keeping the world running. Every day they go to work, they are risking their lives as well as the lives of their loved ones. Of course, the doctors are also playing a huge part to stabilizing the world in this difficult time. They are also risking their lives when they go into work every day. They work for hours and hours every day to treat all their patients, especially the ones who have contracted COVID-19. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, I appreciated doctors for keeping me healthy, and I appreciated the minimum wage workers for their hard work, but now I have a new outlook and respect for these people. They don’t necessarily come to work and risk their lives every day because they want to, they do it because they must in order to help society and to make money for their families.
Another incredible group of people are my teachers. In a matter of days, they had to edit over a month's worth of their old lesson plans to make them work in a virtual classroom. So far, everything has been running smoothly, which shows how great they are at their jobs. They try their best to stay online in case the students have difficulties navigating the online tools we’ve been using for the past few weeks. This is not only new to the students, but it is also new to the teachers. They’ve been very patient with us when it comes to due dates, submissions and questions we may have. My mom teaches college students at Rowan University and Stockton University, so I had a peek behind the curtain as to how this transition has been for teachers. She has been very stressed with trying to create as normal of an online environment as possible and tweaking her lesson plans to make it easier for her students. Seeing how hard my mom has been working to make this experience less stressful for her students made me realize that my teachers have been doing the same for me. It became evident that my teachers truly care for their students and the education they receive. Though this has been a very frustrating time for me personally, I keep reminding myself that this would be a lot harder if my teachers didn’t care as much as they did.
I am also finding a great appreciation for my family. Though I would love nothing more than to leave my house and not return for a week, this new lifestyle would be harder to get used to if it weren’t for my family. With the limitations on what I can do, I usually only find entertainment in listening to music, watching TV, or spending time with my family. I’ve always been very close to my family, and I have so much love and appreciation for all they do for me, but right now they are the only thing keeping me going. My parents have been very honest and supportive about this whole situation and always ask how my online classes are going or if I need any help. My sister has been my best friend my whole life, but especially now since we can only see each other. My brother has been great company as well. Sometimes, I’ll sit in the living room with him and watch him play videogames. My brother is definitely more of a home body, so he doesn’t have a lot of issues with the quarantine. Personally, I am very social and I love spending time with people, whether it’s my friends or my family. My brother has served as a great reminder that we can have so much fun right here in the house. I can’t recall ever hearing a complaint come out of his mouth related to this situation. He has been very positive and keeping busy each and every day and I am attempting to have that same attitude.
Overall, this experience is continuing to teach me how much I took normal life for granted before it was too late. I didn’t appreciate school and how it allowed me to see my friends. I didn’t have the same appreciation I do now for doctors, cashiers, etc. I didn’t understand how much my teachers truly care about the well-being of their students and how hard they work to make the students’ lives easier. I didn’t realize that all I really need at the end of the day is my family. This experience has taught me a very valuable lesson to not take for granted what you have, and I will be carrying this lesson after we return to normal life.