Reading and Writing Our Way Forward
This year might be the worst one yet. At first, it seemed unbelievable and somewhat funny. I initially enjoyed looking at memes about the COVID-19 and sending them to friends. That was just in the beginning, though. The seriousness of this whole thing took time to sink in. Even when school was canceled as a safety measure, my friends and I celebrated the news. We cheered for our new freedom and independence. We didn't realize at the time what social distancing meant and how it would impact us. We didn't know we'd be losing access to the only place we had to gather and be ourselves: IALCS. We didn't realize that NYC would be the "epicenter" of the virus.
The hardest part has been not being able to gather with friends. Ever since I can remember, having school canceled was good news. The best news ever. In my younger years, I took it upon myself to cancel school by making up excuses that never seemed believable to my mom. This school cancellation is different, though. This is forced isolation. I mean, I have started learning new ways to manage my time and committed to learning how to cook finally. But it's hard to plan every second of the day. Honestly, sometimes I don't feel like doing much. It seems like motivation is hard to come by these days. The funny thing is that our class was planning a secret prom on the low, but now it's no secret that everything is cancelled. I feel bad for the group of students who put in time and energy to plan this secret prom only to have everything ruined. Another interesting thing is that our year (2020) would always feel superior to underclassmen since we felt like we were the "last of the old generation" at IAL. We felt that we had all the fun memories and experiences that the younger kids did not go through. We took pride in this unique status, but now we have to come to terms with getting dealt a terrible hand. We have to accept online celebrations and alternative events. I know it's no one's fault, and my mom says I shouldn't compare experiences, but I guess I just wanted the whole traditional prom and graduation. I know I can't be angry at anyone and that no one wanted this to happen, but it's still hard to accept. I'm so tired of doing the same thing. All I do is wake up, do my homework then play online because that's the only way my friends and I get to bond aside from studying together.
I want to go back to how things were before. I wonder what it'll feel like when we are finally able to go out again. Will it feel like taking our first steps again? Will we forget what it's like to be social? For seniors, these first steps back into the world might be after our scheduled graduation or even after our college semester was supposed to start. It's weird not having college tours or orientations before having to decide on your final choice.
On the positive side, I've connected with my family more due to all the time we spend with one another. I try to remember that this is just a few months out of four years, and I shouldn't let COVID-19 define my high school experience. On that note, I want to thank all my teachers at IAL for supporting me even when things got rough. I especially want to thank my closest friend, Edgar Sanchez. Thanks for showing me how to never back down from anything and for giving me the courage to be social in school. I know that I can sometimes be moody and rude. Even so, you always have my back and bring positivity wherever you go. For some reason, I found myself thinking about how you'd stay with me afterschool in 10th grade when I had to complete missing work. You were there basically every day when you could've just gone straight home. You waited and supported. You kept telling me to keep my head up and try my best at school. Just like brothers, you and I argue, share food, and always find a way to laugh through the hard stuff. You're my brother from another mother. Just as you've been there for me, I'll always have your back. Having friends like you makes this whole thing more manageable. That's all, and also, you're banned from making fun of me because of this shout out. Though we aren't in school physically, I know that these types of friendships were born at IAL. The past two months and the next few weeks will not define my high school career. Inwood Academy will always be the place where I challenged myself and found my own "crew." Prom or no prom, I will always be grateful for the lessons and friends that IAL gave me.