March 13, 2021 — the date that marks the 365th day since I stepped foot off school campus, not knowing how much the world and I myself would change.
March 13, 2020 — the Friday that would sum up my last school day at North Hollywood High School. Some of the students were excited about it being a Friday the 13th, anticipating some sort of supernatural event that would spice up the end of our week. If only we knew of all the absurdity and panic that was to come. I distinctly remember everyone celebrating the fact that we would not return to campus for the next two weeks. I myself had forgotten my PE clothes in my locker, but deemed it fine to leave them there because I would be back in 14 days. Right?
March 19, 2020 — the first announcement of complete lockdowns, including stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns. Los Angeles was becoming a ghost town. This date marked a time when fear began to settle in. Students would join online Zoom meetings, hoping for news from their teachers, news that they hadn’t already heard on the TV, but to no avail. Teachers, students, parents, district superintendents, literally everyone, had no clue what the future held for our society.
June 2020 — the start of summer break, which only disappointed teens again after realizing they would have to say sayonara to their vacation plans. Amusement parks shut down, traveling bans were established, restaurants and small businesses closed. But, we made it through. Students figured out how to host virtual hangouts, maybe even the occasional themed online party, anything to reestablish some sense of normalcy in these unprecedented times.
Fast forward to the start of the 2020-21 school year: less excitement about back to school shopping, no hope for first day of school outfits, no overwhelming nostalgia about scrambling to the classes of our new schedules. But, not everything went down the drain. Both teachers and students worked to find ways to make online school as enjoyable as it could be, hosting spirit week assemblies and Zoom parties. Social platforms, such as FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Discord, became a must, as students used these to stay connected with their friends while calling and watching movies or playing games.
A whole 365 days have passed, and in every passing minute of quarantine, everybody has found ways to transition to this isolated lifestyle. NHHS student Clarissa Uytiepo stated, “Most may say we learn through experience, but during quarantine, I’ve learned more about myself by not experiencing anything at all … I’ve been able to grow as a person. Now that the one year mark has passed, I’ve become a person that pre-quarantine me would definitely have been proud of.”