Student life during the COVID-19 pandemic

By Aishi Debroy, Staff Reporter

The coronavirus outbreak has caused a disruptive transformation in Conestoga students’ lives. From the last day of physical schooling on March 12, students have been quickly adapting to the chaotic environment despite their disoriented feelings. 

Students are using their downtime during the quarantine period to explore a plethora of hobbies. Senior Sydney White hosts weekly showcases in her driveway, where she plays guitar and sings for her neighbors. 

“They bring their own chairs, and we sit six-feet apart. I play songs for them, with my little amp and mic,” White said. “ My mom even decorated the driveway. There are lights up and everything. ”

With more leisure time, senior Jake Hunter has also been exploring his passions. As a musician, he is working on creating a studio album and sharpening his guitar skills. Hunter has also assembled a computer during quarantine in commemoration of a similar handmade one built six years ago. 

“It was my graduation gift, so my dad let me build a new one. I had a budget and ordered some parts,” Hunter said. “I use it for games, and it has lights on it, so it looks pretty. In general, quarantine has given me a lot more free time just to do whatever.”

Even though group activities have been canceled, many students are trying to make the best out of lost practice time by taking lessons online. Senior Katherine Ridder, a dancer at Ballet 180 School, choreographs dances with her student company, hoping to record a showcase online. 

“The teachers have been posting videos of the choreography. Our teacher puts us all on mute and gives us combinations. It’s whatever you have space to do,” Ridder said. “Obviously, it’s less structured, and it’s kind of frustrating as a senior. It’s my last year dancing with them.”

For many families in this community, COVID-19 has served as a stressor. Many students have divorced or essential worker parents, leaving the future uncertain. Sophomore Molly McLoughlin is unable to see her father, an essential person at a local gas station, due to his increased exposure. 

“I haven’t seen my dad in two months. We’re both really awkward, so texting and calling is weird,” McLoughlin said. “I miss my dad. We used to play ping pong together.”

With all the chaos, the senior class cannot participate in a regular graduation, prom or senior internship, leaving mixed emotions. 

“I think there are a decent proportion of seniors that are just bitter. They are stuck in their house and missing out,” White said. “I think for a decent amount of people, anger and bitterness is their response.”

Ridder and White are keeping busy, but they cannot help feeling regretful and unfortunate in this pandemic. White said that she is striving to find a positive outlook during this confusing situation. 

“I really get sad because (senior activities are) stuff that I looked forward to,” White said. “I’ve adapted a new attitude. It’s a global pandemic. I can sit here and be sad, but that’s not going to do any good. As long as we’re all happy and healthy, I’ll be thankful for that.” 

On the other hand, Ridder cannot help but dwell on the activities she will be missing during her last year of high school. 

“It’s hard because you kind of know the last day of school is supposed to be the snow day in May, and then (there are) internships and fun milestones, but our last day of school ended up being this random Thursday,” Ridder said. “We just wished we had known that that was going to be our last day so we could have done something.”

Despite the situation, Ridder and White hope to spread positivity and give back. Ridder and her family made 1,000 masks for the community, which they have donated to Paoli Hospital, sold to their neighbors and created for her father’s company, which is composed of essential workers. Assessing the stressful circumstances, White writes hopeful letters to anyone who wants one. 

“I made them all little pieces of art and a note. I sent them to my family and anyone that I thought would like one, like this kid on my bus and my neighbors,” White said. “I started them the first week of quarantine and kept doing it because people liked them.”

Aishi Debroy can be reached at [email protected]