Follow Ariana Patch, a young teenager whose freshman year was interrupted by a strange new virus that’s taking over the world in my short story, “COVID-19”.
March 17, 2020
Today is Tuesday, the first day we are out of school because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Yesterday, our principal held an assembly to tell us that we were getting out of school for two weeks. Since it’s only been one day, I’m not feeling confined in any way. It feels like any other weekend, so I’m not tired of being at home yet. That might get old soon, though. I won’t really be able to see anyone but my family and I won’t have too many mental exercises to do, except for the “enrichment activities” our teachers have assigned us. I’m actually grateful for those, as they will keep me sane during these two weeks.
The world is getting crazy now, it’s baffling to observe everyone from this perspective. According to the Nebraska Department of Education website, 102 public schools have shut down, and 58 private schools have also shut down. People are freaking out, and I don’t think for a reasonable cause. Yes, this virus is dangerous, especially for older people, people with underlying health conditions, and newborns. But I don’t think this is a reason to panic. COVID-19 is very similar to influenza.
According to the World Health PDF, both viruses are a respiratory disease. They are both transmitted through contact. They are different because influenza typically lasts about 3 days, while COVID-19 can last from 5 to 6 days. This means influenza spreads faster. We don’t have a vaccine for COVID-19, while we do have one for influenza.
Notice how I mentioned that COVID-19 is a respiratory disease. The symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath, which is very similar to influenza. People are buying so much toilet paper that people who actually have a need for toilet paper have to travel large distances to find it in stores. There are shortages in most stores of toilet paper, even though COVID-19 does not cause diarrhea. I understand the need to have it if you are quarantined, but hoarding it is ridiculous. Other items, like hand sanitizer, are rational to buy, but not in such huge quantities. My dad and I went to get dry ice from this man and he told us that an elderly couple came into his store and bought over $800 worth of groceries. They did not have children or grandchildren. Another elderly woman came in and bought over $100 worth of only toilet paper.
The COVID-19 virus is driving our world into a panic and my only hope is that people will realize that they are blowing this out of proportion. I hope that this will pass quickly and that people will regain some sense.
March 18, 2020
Day two of isolation is going well for me. We had a crazy morning, as we received a box of chickens, turkeys, and ducks. We had to move them and get them settled and everything, and the activity was good for me. I have been working on schoolwork for a while now, and I interviewed my mom for a Geography assignment.
It’s kind of hard to stay on our property and not go anywhere, even though I don’t like going anywhere mostly. It’s also hard being cooped up with only my family, although I love them. I have been FaceTiming my friends to stay sane.
Coronavirus is actually worse than I’d originally thought. Apparently, someone can be a carrier of the Coronavirus and not have the symptoms. So, if they walk around and spread the disease, someone who catches it from them could feel the symptoms. You are also contagious for four days before you feel the symptoms, if you feel them at all. Coronavirus is dangerous to elderly, and when the virus got into a nursing home it killed about 40 people. It’s so dangerous, although I could have had it.
About two weeks ago, I was out of school for a week with a cough, sore throat, lost voice, and a fever. I thought it was influenza, but since I never got tested for it, I could have had the Coronavirus.
I don’t know what else to say, other than I don’t like being out of school. I wish that we could just continue, because so many things are suspended or cancelled. Like track, FCCLA, FBLA, FFA, prom, and everything.
March 19, 2020
This is day three of the isolation because of the Coronavirus. Today my mother was going to take us to Norfolk to Hobby Lobby to get crafting supplies to keep us occupied. But, she is going to leave us here so we aren’t exposed to the virus. It’s getting a little frustrating, having to stay at home and not leave. I miss going out in public and seeing my friends. There’s nothing going on here, especially since we live in the country and are kind of out of the loop. I haven’t had much contact with my friends from Edmund, yet. After a week I’ll probably try to reach out and talk. I have been talking to Bella and my friends from Neely, but not much.
It’s not very easy to write for 20 minutes about this.
I heard that there were a few earthquakes in Utah that were about 5.7 magnitude. I don’t know how bad that is, as I’ve never experienced an earthquake. I’ve seen the pictures of destruction. I’m just glad I live in Nebraska where we don’t get earthquakes or tsunamis or hurricanes. It’s nice to live in such a landlocked state, sometimes.
My family is starting to get irritated with each other, especially my sisters and I. I don’t know how to fix that, except to spend time away from them and try to give everyone space. Kind of hard to do when we live in such a small house.
March 20, 2020
Day four of the Coronavirus quarantine is hitting hard. I’m starting to feel less like a person and less like myself. I haven’t done anything today, I just can’t find the energy. Everyone is saying on Tik Tok and Instagram that they’re going to try and “glow-up” during these two weeks, but I don’t know how they do it. I can’t do anything.
I was originally happy about the quarantine, since I was getting kind of overwhelmed by school. But now I see that this isn’t good for my mental health and it’s really starting to affect me. Even though our homework is minimal, I’m getting stressed about the science homework because it doesn’t explain the concept at all and I can’t ask my teacher for help. I don’t know what to do. I know it’s only day four, but this isn’t at all fun like we all thought it would be.
I know I’m supposed to write for 20 minutes, but I can barely summon the energy to write this much. I’m sorry, but I just can’t today. I’ll try to be more productive tomorrow.
March 21, 2020
Day five of the quarantine was definitely better than yesterday. I didn’t do much today, and I’m just now starting my homework, but it was better. I don’t feel like I’m going to cry every second of every hour. Now, I just feel numb. This quarantine is not doing me any good, but I feel like I’m unhurtable now. My defense is numbness, which is better than devastating pain.
My list of regrets that the Coronavirus exists is endless, but at the top of the list is for the graduating class of 2020. They are getting their childhood cut off, it seems like. We don’t know if school will get cancelled completely, but if they do things will be horrible for this year’s seniors. They won’t get to walk down the aisle, or hug their best friends, or give their closest ones flowers. They won’t get to go to one last prom. Instead of getting ready for prom with their friend group, they will be stuck inside their houses, looking on their phones, and knowing what could have happened. They won’t get to say goodbye to all the underclassmen who look up to them, who they’ll be leaving behind. They won’t get to finish their education this year, and they’ll be behind on college applications. They won’t get to see their favorite teachers again, and though of course they can see them, it won’t be the same. It will be an unfinished goodbye.
So, if anyone from the graduating class of 2020 is reading this, I’m sorry. We underclassmen won’t know how hard this is for you, and how difficult this will be for you. But, this will pass, just like everything else. You are expected to be young adults now, and I believe that you can achieve that. I know that most of you already are. So, from an underclassman, thank you and I’m sorry.
March 22, 2020
Day six of the Coronavirus quarantine is going better than day four. I did something productive today; I cleaned my room. It does make me feel better, even just a little. Of course, I still don’t feel right. When I’m trying to fall asleep is the worst time, when my thoughts are free to roam as they please. During the day I try to keep somewhat busy by reading or cleaning or spending time with our various animals. I’ve finished five books and have started on a sixth so far. I only have five left, which is worrying me. What will I do when they’re finished?
I’ve been thinking about inviting someone over, but it’s a difficult situation. Basically, the girl’s family does not like my dad, mostly because of his profession. The situation kind of made me think of Romeo & Juliet’s story. Two kids who can’t be together because of their family. Of course, this is a lot different, but not that much. I’m sure Mrs. Harlowe will be happy I remembered at least a part of that awful story.
The only ways I’ve stayed sane throughout this week is because of my Neely friends, books, and music. My family, obviously, has made me less lonely, but that can only take me so far, holed up with the same people for two weeks. I’m so fortunate to have a really good family, or this quarantine would be a thousand times worse.
I’m so sad for all the activities that have been cancelled or “suspended”. I am most disappointed for FCCLA State STAR. I got first in Districts with a gold medal and I was working on a mental health week for my school to beef up my presentation a little. I’m so sad that I had that taken away from me. I could have done so well, but now I feel like a jerk whenever I say that to anyone.
Track I’m not too sad about, since I quit. I quit because it made me feel worthless every night when I’d get home and know that I wasn’t the best, that I was the worst. It’s hard for me to accept not being the best, because I excel at a lot of things without trying. I know I could’ve done better if I tried harder, but I don’t think I could handle all of those people. I would have been so happy with just a Edmund track team, but with Orchard and Clearwater, it was hard to be around so many people, who were constantly judging me.
District music I was excited for, as well. I had a beautiful song and I had really thought I stood a chance to go to State.
District speech is one of the biggest let-downs. True, I probably wouldn’t have made it to State, but I was excited to give my humorous speech. I had a bunch of new ideas, I could do it without the script, and I was good at it. I am not as sad for our OID or my serious, which didn’t turn out like I wanted it to. I will not be doing that next year.
Pierce honor band I was also excited for, since I got 2nd chair. I’ve never placed so high, and this was going to be my fourth year going. I could have said that I’d gone all four years, but now I can’t. I can say that I made it, however, so I am not too sad. But I am still greatly disappointed.
There’s a lot I’m missing out on because of this Coronavirus, but I can’t afford to be so sad about it, because I’m very fortunate.
March 23, 2020
Today is day seven of the quarantine. I can’t believe it’s been a week. Today Mr. Appleby called and told us that school is cancelled through the end of the school year. I was in shock, and when I called my Neely friends about it, they informed me that they also closed. I don’t know how we’re going to do classes, because we have to have credits to graduate to the next year. But there’s also kids who don’t have WiFi at home, or their parents didn’t finish school and can’t help their children with their homework. I don’t know what they are going to do and the uncertainty is killing me.
This quarantine started out as a joke. People saying, “Oh, see you next school year!” But now the rest of our freshman year is officially cancelled. I didn’t get to say goodbye to all those seniors, who I look up to as an underclassman. I didn’t know that Monday would be my last day as a freshman, and now I’m a sophomore, technically.
After I got the news, I got into a FaceTime call with my Neely friends and we all cried for about half an hour. A few kids didn’t care that it was over. But my senior friends were the most upset, and we were all upset for them. They got all of their “lasts” ripped away from them and it isn’t fair.
March 24, 2020
Day eight of the quarantine passed with a lot of good things in the day, I guess. I cleaned out the hay in the lean-to for an hour while listening to music, so it wasn’t a very bad chore to do. It was very windy, but inside the lean-to it was warm and just a slight breeze was blowing.
I FaceTimed Bella for a good amount of time and we worked on our writing for a long time.
There’s not much to say about how I’m feeling, other than defeated. I’m sad that the school year ended like this, but I can’t do anything about it. I’m not looking forward to whatever they decide to do with “online classes”, because that sounds miserable. Anyway, I don’t feel broken-hearted anymore, but I’m still sad.
This quarantine has had so much effect on everyone and I’ll be the first to say that it’s not in a good way. For anyone in the future reading this “journal”, don’t take school for granted. Everyone wanted out for a while, but it’s not at all what we thought it would be.
March 25, 2020
Day nine of the Coronavirus quarantine was a lot better than any of the other days. I spent most of my time FaceTiming Bella while we were working on homework or our writing exercises. I had a lot of fun with her, but I really wish she lived closer to me. I’d kill to be able to just walk over to each other’s houses everyday. Of course, we couldn’t do that with the quarantine, but still. It’d be nice to have someone here.
I feel a lot better today. I think I’m finally adjusting to the quarantine. I’m still sad, obviously, about everything that’s been cancelled and how much of freshman year I missed. I’m not excited for “online schooling” or whatever they end up planning to do. I just think that’s going to be chaotic because there will be students who don’t do anything. I would hate to have to go on a group FaceTime (or whatever they call it) with my classmates. THAT would be chaotic. I can’t imagine any of the boys getting up to go to school online. Any day that that happens, a pig will fly.
Anyway, I have to go to bed. I’m trying to straighten up my sleep schedule again, but it’s a slow process. This quarantine definitely messed that up, along with a million other things.
March 26, 2020
Day ten of the quarantine was pretty normal, by all standards. I only FaceTimed Bella for a little while. I’m getting used to being quarantined now, even though I have been feeling increasingly lonely for a relationship lately. I wish I had a relationship to count on a go back to. I really want to be loved right now, but in my state that’s not possible. Every boy here is inconsiderate, ignorant, and basic. They all don’t treat anyone right, especially their family. They don’t care about school, they don’t care about anyone’s feelings. I honestly hate it here sometimes. But other times I’m glad I live here.
Anyway, I am getting used to quarantine. I didn’t go to the store with my mother and sister today and I was fine with being alone in my room all day.
I’ve been trying to “glow up” over quarantine, like everyone else is doing. I have started to do more skin care and exercising with my friend over FaceTime. I have been trying to take better care of my hair and sleep more. I know it probably won’t increase my looks by sophomore year, but I’m tired of feeling like I have to dress to cover myself up because I don’t feel pretty. I’m ready for a change.
March 27, 2020
Day eleven of the Coronavirus quarantine passed with nothing special happening. I didn’t go out today, I cleaned my room twice, I did a lot of skin care and everything. I now like doing the dishes at night because I’m so bored. There’s nothing to do here, and I don’t even know what else to write. There isn’t anything going on here.
March 28, 2020
Day twelve of the Coronavirus quarantine was exactly like all the others, so I don’t see a reason to write about it.
March 29, 2020
Day thirteen of the Coronavirus quarantine was better because I was busy the entire day. My family and I cleaned out loads of logs and sticks from the heifer pen and we worked for over 7 hours. Afterwards, it was nice to see our progress, as it was so much cleaner. There’s nothing else to say about today, so I’ll leave it at that.
March 30, 2020
It’s been fourteen days, two weeks, since the beginning of the quarantine. Every day is exactly like the other, and I don’t feel like I need to write about that. I’m done journaling for now.
Monday, April 20, 2020; 8:12 P.M.
Four days ago, I finally accepted myself. Unlike I’d thought, it wasn’t a slow process of working to accept all my flaws one by one. It was like a light switch being turned on. Suddenly, I realized that I was beautiful and had value and had worth to add into the world. It was all because of my best friend. I was texting her one night at exactly 8:06 P.M. on April 16, 2020, a Thursday. We were talking before that, but I told her that the one thing that the Coronavirus had done for me had made me accept my flaws. And instantly, in that moment, I accepted everything about myself.
Now, I’m not naïve. I know I have flaws and I’m not perfect. I’m going to have bad days and I will question and doubt myself, still. But it’s not the self-consuming self-hate that I used to have. If you had asked me five days ago if I was happy with my life, I would’ve said no. But now, I would say yes. Of course, I’m still a moody teenager going through tough times (high school) and I’m entitled to be a little moody. But I’m not depressed and anxious all the time. I won’t worry about what to say to my friends or anyone. I’m not as lonely for a relationship anymore, and I know that I can wait until I find someone who fits me.
My best friend is the only reason that I realized this, at all. Without her I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t think that I had any worth or that I was truly loved by anyone. She will always have a place in my heart and nothing can or will ever take that away from her.
At first, quarantine was not good for me, at all. My mental health was declining from zero contact with my friends and classmates and I was stuck inside with my family for weeks. But after exactly one month since the beginning of quarantine (March 16th) I am finally myself. And I realized that’s okay. After two years of depression, anxiety, crying myself to sleep and trying to stop myself from cutting my skin or trying to kill myself, I’m done with it all. I’m ready to start my life.
Thank you for reading!