Sihwan Jin

The date is January 19, 2020. The popular kids were in class making jokes, passing notes, and fooling around as the teacher taught math. The studious, nerdy kids sat stiffly in their chairs with their pens and pencils taking notes. The anti-social kids laid their heads down on their desks showing no sign of life. I sat in the middle row towards the back of the class with a few friends fooling around and occasionally paying attention to the teacher. Word of a new virus was spreading like wildfire worldwide and rumors were going around the school. “I heard a Chinese man ate bat soup and started the virus,” said Jonathon, grinning. Jonathon always made inappropriate jokes that no one found funny except his two friends who would always laugh hysterically at whatever he said. It was just another normal school day. School was boring, school was repetitive, school was unchanging.

The date is May 24, 2020. Virtual school had started as the virus was spreading worldwide. “Alright class, I know you guys are still getting situated to this new system we have in place so I will not be assigning homework today. Have a good weekend you guys,” Mr. Howard said as he ended the Zoom meet. The transition from in-school to virtual was a simple one for me. Teachers told us that we were now taking classes on either Google Meet or Zoom. “Alright let’s play some games boys,” I said to my friends as soon as “class” ended. We played for hours with no track of time; that day and many more to come. I was free of the stress from tests, quizzes, projects, and homework. Everything was great, I thought to myself, I never want to go back to school.

The date is August 14, 2020. The virus was declared a global pandemic by the CDC and people are told to stay home. This virus, once overlooked by me and many others, was now what our life revolved around. I couldn’t meet my friends. I couldn’t go play basketball. I couldn’t go to restaurants. I couldn’t do anything, other than go on my computer, stare at my screen eating the same old chips and playing the same old video games. The games I once loved to play all day long were no longer fun. The friends I once loved to call all day were gone. Life felt like a simulation. Every day was the same and I felt like I could not do anything about it.

The date is November 11, 2020. I hoped that with the start of online school something would change for the better. Nothing changed. In fact, it got worse. Virtual school only added more stress in my life. As both students and teachers adapted to this once unfamiliar system, teachers gave more work, tests, and projects. I felt hopeless. I felt like giving up. Thoughts of my friends were popping up in my head.

The date is September 15, 2021. “So how have you been Jayden?,” Jonathan asked me. “I have been just fine Jonathan. How about you?,” I replied. “Definitely better than you,” Jonathan said jokingly. Jonathan’s two friends laughed. I laughed and so did my friends. The popular kids were talking amongst themselves making jokes. The studious, nerdy kids sat as stiff as rocks in their chairs, somehow taking notes while the teacher taught. The anti-social kids sat in the corners of the room with their heads down looking somehow more dead than before.  It was just another normal school day. School was boring, school was repetitive, school was unchanging.

School was always like this.

School should stay like this.