A Change in Lifestyle, COVID-19 (Pt. V)

BY: CLAIRE KIM

Week 17: Well, well, it’s the second week of July! From what I remember, I spent a lot of time together with my family this week. From family-improvised Korean BBQs on our outdoor patio to afternoon visits to Shoreline Park, we not only embraced one another’s presence but also the nature that surrounded us. And, to be quite honest, immersing oneself in nature is healing. There’s something so comforting about smelling the fresh air and hearing small animals rustling in the leaves. After weeks spent staying at home and wearing masks all the time, the opportunity to escape this feeling of “suffocation”, even for just a few minutes, was refreshing. Hearing the sounds of our neighborhood animals, I felt reassured that life was still fluid, not dead. So, if you have the opportunity, the means, or the time to go out in nature, do it! You don’t realize how much you miss nature until you actually experience it.

Week 18: After a day spent with my family at Shoreline Park, the following week, aka this week, I came back again, only this time, with a friend. We fancied ourselves with a little social distancing picnic, eating fish tacos while conversing about our upcoming senior year anxieties and excitements. The highlight of the day was our paddle boating experience on the lake, in which we turned on music and sang our hearts out (of course, while wearing masks). In a way, we relieved our stress. As school schedules began to roll out and emails from our school counselors began pouring in into our inbox, this past week was exceptionally stressful for both of us, and probably, every other incoming student this year. With our school announcing, not a hybrid model, but a full-on online style first semester, my worries regarding the stress of senior year were amplified after hearing this announcement. I guess the uncertainty, the ambiguity of online classes is what frustrates me the most.

Week 19: So this week is a special week because… both of my parents took three days off from work! Yay! More family time, less studying haha. For the first few days, my mother and I completed a lot of small tasks: getting an eye-examination, going back to school shopping, and considering garden plans! We are considering growing a peach tree! Once my father got off from work on Wednesday, we decided to head down to the 17-mile drive, aka Pebble Beach, and wow, there weren’t that many people. For one, it was Wednesday, and two, again, we are living in a pandemic right now (I sometimes forget that we are; it feels too much like a dream). This little road trip was definitely very needed. Listening to the ocean waves, I got a lot of things off of my mind for a few hours, and I have to admit, it was nice feeling a little free. I think the most exciting part of all was that we participated in our first real outdoor dining experience since the beginning of the pandemic. Restaurant foods served on plates instead of takeout containers, it was a luxury that I’m definitely grateful for, and will admit came from some sort of privilege. To finish our impromptu getaway, we ended up visiting Carmel Beach, in which we quickly ended up leaving because “sitting on the beach” was not allowed; only exercise was.

Week 20: If I had to sum up this week’s emotions in one word it would be anxious. Upon hours of fighting with the ACT browser, hoping to get a test date this fall, I failed. The registration page shut down, and two days later, they announced that it would open again next week, which doesn’t guarantee anything. I’m tired of having to go through so much emotional stress for testing. It’s unfair how only a certain population will, inevitably, only be able to take the tests, when this test is considered a standard part of everyone’s college applications. Personally, upon reading articles of worsening coronavirus rates in our country, I believe that the “test-optional” policy for testing in the 2020-2021 college application round should change to “test-blind”, that way everyone is on the same playing field.

Seniors, like myself, are already stressed enough with a full first semester of online courses. Some students who have had the opportunity to test in June or July got sick from attempting to test.

Out of concern for the mental health of students and their actual wellbeing, testing this year needs to be a scrapped component of the college admissions application. This is only safe and fair.

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