Essay By Samyuktaa Jayakrishnan
As a high school student, my catch phrase tends to be “I am so tired.” Whether you see me in the morning, with my puffy eyes and unkempt hair, after a long day of school, or even right after a nap, I never fail to remind the people around me that I am exhausted. In elementary school, I dreamt of a world full of Hershey’s chocolate and Bratz Dolls , however as I approached the second half of my junior year, I fantasized about a world with no responsibilities, no school, and endless amounts of sleep. I used to wake up and beg my mom to let me stay home from school, mostly because I had none of my homework done, but also because I thought ignoring my responsibilities and not going to school seemed like the solution to my workload. It felt like I just needed a week off, and ironically, on March 13th, I got an email from my principal informing us that school had officially been shut down until May. At first, I was ecstatic, a month off seemed like the best thing that could happen to me. I dreamt of all the memories I was going to make with my friends during my time off from school. However, like usual, as I went downstairs happier than ever, my dad came in like a bulldozer to crush my beautiful skyscraper of plans. He heartlessly reminded me that school shutting down meant absolutely nothing, and that I would be spending at least the next month quarantined inside the house. Although this definitely knocked me down from Cloud 9, I still rode the high of not having to go to school.
The first week of Quarantine was amazing; I woke up at 1 pm, ate, took a nap, ate again, then watched TV until 4am, just to repeat the same schedule the next day. I blissfully lived life with no responsibilities and enjoyed my lack of purpose. However, the second week reminded me that school isn’t just a place where I have to listen to my boring teachers ramble on and do dreadful homework, it’s a place where I am fortunate enough to talk to different kinds of people everyday. I enjoy the small social interactions I have with the kids that sit next to me at class, but I never knew these interactions were so important to me. Although sitting around and doing nothing seemed like a luxury at first, as the third week of quarantine crept up on me, I slowly started to admit that I missed school.
Crazy, right? The one thing in my life that I dreaded most started to become the thing I missed the most. I missed the structure of my days, the discipline I was forced to follow, and the purpose that I had. School gave me opportunities to meet new people everyday, and learn something new, even if it usually isn’t the information my teachers are lecturing in class. I started to realize that I am so fortunate to have such an amazing education handed to me, and my homework began to look less like a responsibility, but more like something I am privileged to be able to do. Studying for the SAT and completing the work for my classes, although tedious and stressful at the time, is such a trivial problem compared to the people who are fighting illnesses and the workers that are helping their fight. Quarantine has really given me perspective on the privilege of education I have been lucky enough to grow up with, which some people in the world do not receive easily. My mom has always told me, “be thankful for what you have”, and although I roll my eyes at the time, I have finally realized how lucky I am. Although I will probably never stop complaining about how I am tired at school, I have definitely learned to be more thankful for my education, and to be careful what I wish for.