Jenna Culpepper, Head Editor

I’m jolted awake by the sound of my alarm and I sigh before slowly opening my eyes. I reach over and stop the noise before staring at my ceiling for a couple of minutes.

“You’ll be back at school soon,” I say to reassure myself that my circumstances won’t last forever.

I drag myself through getting ready for school before sitting at my desk. I turn on my laptop and prepare myself for another eight hour day of staring at my computer.

I spend a lot of the day staring at the walls and whiteboards in classrooms as I listen to teachers talk. For the most part, I feel ignored and saddened by the fact that I’m not sitting at a desk in Geier Hall with a majority of my classmates.

Although some teachers try, it’s impossible to feel included when you can’t see the faces of your peers, but instead you have to strain your ears to hear what they’re saying from across the room.

I accept whatever weird reality I’m living in until it’s 3 p.m. and I logout of my last class. I smile knowing that the day is over, but I remember all the work I still have to do. I take a break and walk around before going right back to my computer and continuing.

As my time of online school continued, everything blurred together. Having to be quarantined from even my own family, I was primarily stuck in my room with nothing to do but school. I couldn’t leave my house or see people in any capacity.

During the day I couldn’t focus on school because of the distractions in and out of my house. My dogs would bark, trucks would pass by, and leaf blowers would drone on in the background.

Yet at night I couldn’t get school off my mind because I felt like it was only a few feet away. All I had to do was glance across the room to see my computer and be reminded of all the work I had left to do for the week.

For me online school was more than the loss of my focus and classmates, it was the loss of home.

Although it was challenging to feel distant from school, nothing is quite as jarring as losing your only sense of comfort and rest.

Everyday for me would begin the same cycle of school, work, and home. It’s hard to find a real balance when you have to do everything in the same place.

It’s tough to bring a classroom to your own house. It’s difficult to manage school over poor wifi connections and websites shutting down. It’s a lot of work to keep up when everything is online.

Being almost a year removed from the start of this, it’s clear that this is reality for the foreseeable future. Some days I feel like I can’t even remember what life felt like last January and February. It’s impossible to feel grounded and comfortable when my walls could close in and trap me at any moment as I’m thrown into quarantine another time.

The end of my high school experience hangs by the delicate thread of all the people I’ve been in contact with and I’m just hoping it doesn’t break again. But, even if it does, it’s nice to know that it won’t be this way forever.