As the coronavirus pandemic continues, it has been quite difficult for me personally to grapple with the state of the world and what’s going on. Many questions are unanswered, such as when the coronavirus will subside, when and if students can go back to their regular school day and when restaurants and other closed stores will open again.
What hits closest to home for me is that elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and colleges have closed nationally and are resorting to the use of online classes. My own high school, Natick High, where I am a senior, closed a month ago.
Natick High School has had online enrichment activities and calls with our classes two to three times a week, but that’s not enough. Only being able to do limited amounts of work and having to freeze/modify grades and change the curriculum to a pass/fail method is extremely frustrating and upsetting and leaves concern for what will happen to our final grades.
And then there’s our graduation. If prom or graduation were to be canceled, that would be truly devastating! To think that so many students look forward to these special and exciting events and could miss these experiences after working hard for 13 years—it would be awful.
What a bizarre, surreal coincidence that this pandemic started to evolve right as I was deciding to study public health. Next year, I’m attending the University of Vermont and plan to major in health and society, and that’s what prompted me to write about COVID-19.
I find this virus to be intriguing yet devastating. There are so many unknowns as to what will happen, how much worse it will get and when things will get better. And in some ways, I feel close to the medical aspect of it. My great-grandfather was an anesthesiologist; my grandfather is an epidemiologist and doctor of infectious diseases; my aunt took public health classes during and after college and works in marketing at NYU Langone Medical Center. My step-grandmother was a nurse. All of this contributed to my decision to study public health, but I didn’t realize I would be thrown into a real-life public health crisis at this pivotal point in my life.
I’m not going to lie: Not being able to go to school and see my friends has been tough. However, as difficult as it may be, it’s crucial that people obey social distancing rules and stay home. This summer, I was supposed to go on a trip with my family and grandparents before my twin brother and I head off to college. That trip has since been canceled, and I’m extremely disappointed.
As of now, I’m supposed to go to a concert this summer that I have been looking forward to, but I have a feeling it will soon be rescheduled to sometime next year, like most large events. The timing of the coronavirus is soul-crushing for high school and college seniors. It feels like my last year of high school has gone down the drain. The thought of not having prom, or a senior cruise or picnic, or participating in senior spirit weeks, or even not having graduation, is unbearable. While at home I have been doing some extra optional assignments for school to get credits, but not being in a physical classroom is heartbreaking.
In the end, not being able to see friends or go out or go to school has been terrible, but I have gotten more acclimated to staying home and finding ways to keep myself occupied. I am hopeful this terrible virus will pass. This time will not be easy for anyone, but what’s best is to look out for friends and family and keep a positive mindset.
Rebecca Frey is a Rashi School alumna (2016), a senior at Natick High School (2020) and will be attending the University of Vermont in the fall.
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