A week and a half ago, I was sitting at the dinner table with my parents, doing what I have become best at this year: ranting.
I was beyond stressed. I had a chemistry test the next day, which I didn’t feel at all prepared for, and an AP U.S. History cumulative the day after that, not to mention the mounds of ACT homework that were due later that night for my tutor.
I vividly remember saying I was sick of school.
I was done with the 6:45 a.m. wakeups, relentless amounts of work, staying up past midnight almost every night and the overwhelming pressure of the notorious junior year. I was becoming, in my mom’s words, a “little stress ball.”
Writing this, it’s around noon. I slept in until around nine this morning, made myself a hearty breakfast of eggs and toast, did some exercises, and had more than enough time to get things done. I also treated myself to watching more TV than usual, something usually absent from a normal school day. This has been my exact routine for the past week.
If someone had told me two weeks ago what my routine is right now, I’d be thrilled. Yet, now that I’m here, having all this time isn’t exactly comforting for me.
My email is now flooded with Zoom schedules, updates on exams and the latest cancellations of events. I’ve gotten used to only being able to see my friends through a screen, and only going outside for a rushed grocery store run, and then promptly singing Happy Birthday twice in my head while washing my hands.
Now, I’d do anything to go back to the way things were a week and a half ago. When I received the email on March 14 announcing that school would be canceled until at least April 17, I didn’t realize how much I would miss school just 10 days in.
I miss uncontrollably laughing during Chinese class, leaving my APUSH classroom a little happier than before (thank you, Ms. Mason), sprinting to the cafeteria to grab a bagel before sitting through an 80-minute class, waving to my peers and teachers in the hallway; the list is infinite.
Caught in the chaos of junior year, I never realized how important these little things were for me. But, being deprived of these things makes me frustrated that I didn’t appreciate them sooner. On one hand, I didn’t know that walking out of school last Thursday would be my last time. However, that just proves how I have taken things for granted.
Using Zoom instead of physically being in class makes me recognize the incredible student-teacher interactions and relationships the High School establishes. Being at home all day makes me grateful for the High School’s extracurriculars, especially sports, which let me release pent-up energy after school every day. Only seeing my parents and siblings every day enables me to acknowledge how grateful I am for the faculty at ASL (not that I’m not grateful for my family), many of whom have inspired me in terms of academics and building character. Only FaceTiming my friends and peers makes me realize how crucial they are in my high school experience, and how supportive we are of one another.
It’s important to recognize that the High School doesn’t just offer students an outstanding education, but also an outstanding community. Whether someone is a student or faculty member, they contribute to the school in their own way. ASL is a place filled with support, kindness, traditions and love. I can see that more than ever now, and despite the struggles and challenges school can bring, I know to never take it for granted.