School ended about four weeks ago for myself and the rest of the Senior Class. Usually around this time, a typical IB student would be frantically studying for the exams (which were canceled) due to take place May 1-22. In the midst of this pandemic, I have been trying to keep busy and get my mind off the situation. Besides studying for my university’s entrance exams, and reading books that I haven’t been able to get around to, I have been trying to find things to keep myself occupied with in these lonely times. I have tried my hand at sewing, and over the course of four days was able to make a top that I was happy with. When I showed my mom, she told me that I had used fabric made to upholster a chair, so I guess I will not be wearing that out.
For the senior class, March and April are both huge months for birthdays, and for most people turning 18- a milestone in life. However no one can go out to celebrate. A very poor but adequate substitute for what we have to work with is of course, “parties” taking place on Zoom. I think that people prefer to use Zoom over Skype due to its layout, and getting to spend time with friends is nice.
Of course, given our luck, we also can’t attend driving classes so getting around just for the sake of getting out is a challenge since a majority of the class is not licensed. I enjoy cycling, so this mode of transportation has been not only a way for me to get around, but also a way to keep me sane. I cannot stress enough how draining it is for someone my age to be forced to stay inside for two months. I can be out for hours on end with no destination in mind. Sometimes I do though, and when some lockdown restrictions were lifted, I biked to some of my friend’s houses to deliver cookies for them to pick their moods up. The farthest I have gone was to Centrum from my house in Konstancin. This took me about three hours for the round trip, and it was a great way to spend my time, my heart and my mind thanked me.
I really like to use media as a way to transport my mind out of this circumstance. I know fully there are millions out there who have it way worse than I do, and everyday I am thankful for our community’s health, but this crisis takes its toll on you in different ways given the cards you’ve been dealt. Besides watching movies by myself, every Friday my friends and I connect to Zoom, then add on Netflix-party so we can all watch at the same time like we used to do when we went over to each other’s house. So far the highlights have been both Mamma Mia movies, 13 Going on 30, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. If I wanted to psycho-analyze that, I’d say I enjoy movies the most that are able to whisk you away to a fantastic and aesthetically pleasing adventure. So many things have been canceled for the better part of our Senior year, belting out ABBA into my laptop’s mic is all I got at this point!
Another thing I’ve been doing is a bit out of the box. There is this subreddit I found a couple of weeks ago that posts propaganda posters from all around the world. I have a few tote bags at my disposal and I wanted to see if I could modify one and create a cool design. There was this really nice poster promoting Israeli grown watermelons, so I took that, uploaded it into Adobe Illustrator, and edited it. After this I printed it out and used it as a stencil to paint my tote. Here is the final result, it looks…ok. I am glad, that it at least made me feel more secure that I am going into engineering and not fine arts.
Sometimes I think this quarantine has aged me, I feel like an old woman who has a nightly routine that can’t be broken or she won’t get to sleep. At 21:00, I come downstairs and watch Quest Means Business on CNN International, and then the Lead with Jake Tapper but only until the end of Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s segment. After this, I go upstairs, wash up and end up in bed worrying about the state of the world, and our collective futures for a bit until I fall asleep.
This is a way to live, but it isn’t THE way to live. I would give anything to have my normal senior year back! I don’t even care about exams at this point, the fact that I am leaving this country in about a month, and even with a graduation, I will have the bare minimum in terms of personal closure. With the amount of time spent in Poland and highschool, capping it off in this way is devastating. I am leaving behind some really, really great friends of mine, and the fact that I have no clue when I will be able to see them again is heartbreaking. I appreciate everything the school has done for us in terms of the lead up to the end of our senior year, and the final Zoom call/countdown was thoughtful. However, given our circumstances it would have been nice for either the counselors or someone from the upper school to give some support in terms of mental health for our transition out of being active students at the school. I know people may not have needed it, and I don’t think I would have needed to take advantage of it, if it were to have been offered. But for the students who needed someone outside of their family or friend bubble to talk to in the dire reality we live in, it would have been beneficial. I don’t mean this to come off as malicious, I only really gave this idea consideration when completing online tasks for my Uni. They had us fill out a survey for incoming students and a good portion of it was how we were handling the Covid-19 pandemic personally, and what they could do to help if needed.
So, that has been a taste of what a senior has been doing with all the time we have now. For all those who are reading this, I hope that people closest to you are staying safe, and I hope to one day meet again in person.