Life as a ‘Quaran-teen’
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Prom, Grad Bash in Orlando and graduation are all key milestones for any high school senior.
They are the culmination of 14 years of hard work and dedication, from Pre-K to 12th grade.
But for me -- a senior at Miami Lakes Educational Center -- and other seniors across the country, those moments may never come.
Due to the coronavirus, Miami-Dade County schools have been closed since March 16.
And with schools shuttered through at least May 1, it seems unlikely that they will reopen before we are to graduate in June.
Instead, students are left at home to practice “distance learning,” which is attending classes via the internet and on video calls, through the Zoom app.
For three hours each weekday, we try to connect as much as possible with our classmates and soak up every minute of time together.
Then, once classes are over, we are left thinking of all the missed memories, about how our last spring break was spent at home, in self-quarantine.
Afternoons mean connecting with friends remotely, through FaceTime calls, group chats and on social media.
We share viral TikTok videos or memes (funny pictures or videos) on Instagram and Twitter about how we will use FaceTime for our prom.
One TikTok video making the rounds shows a graduation on Google Docs (think slow-moving video game animation, like PAC-MAN).
But we can’t forget that we may never set foot in our high school again.
Never walk down the stairs in our prom dress with our date waiting at the door.
Never get to say goodbye to our favorite teachers or give our friends one final hug.
And never walk across the stage, receive our diplomas and turn the tassel on our graduation caps.
We may sound selfish while complaining, instead of being grateful that we can be at home, protected and surrounded by things to keep us busy.
But we are grateful, too.
Later this year many of us will be off to college, stepping into adulthood, starting our next chapters.
And these last few months at home with our parents, who we rarely get to see in between work and school, are extra special The time allows us to bond.
I spent spring break with my mom, watching “The Office,” doing her makeup and teaching her how to play The Sims (a video game that lets users build dream homes, open businesses or have other adventures).
These weeks away from school have also helped to alleviate some of the stress we were all feeling, with testing season around the corner.
And although this is a fearful time for many who are worried -- about contracting the virus themselves or by the thought of a loved one becoming sick -- it has also served as a great lesson for my generation.
In an age full of technology and advancement, sometimes we can forget to look up from our screens and enjoy the moments we are living.
Being forced to stay at home in isolation has shown us the importance of real, face-to-face human connections, something that technology could never replace.
It has taught us to value our relationships more, and to appreciate the freedoms we have.
To go outside.
Abigail Castro is a part-time designer at
The Miami Laker, where she has also reported and taken photographs for the Town Topics column.
She plans to attend college this fall at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.