With all schools in New Jersey in distance learning mode, the dedicated staff of Columbia High School’s award-winning student newspaper, The Columbian, proudly present their first on-line edition at thecolumbianchs.
With the canceling of all extracurricular activities, the closing of public spaces and the warnings of public officials to stay inside and isolate, COVID-19 has shuffled the world as if life was one twisted deck of cards. Ignorant to the harsh reality of the coronavirus crisis, many, including myself, saw the possibility of school closing as a welcome relief to the stresses and pressures of school. Two weeks spent sleeping in, plenty of free time and relaxed school hours seemed too good to be true. Unfazed by statistics, pictures and videos that seemed far away and outlandish, I brushed the coronavirus off as a passing phase of life, a quick vacation from Columbia High School in which I would have fun and spend endless hours with my friends.
This attitude quickly wore off. As many often say, you never think something will happen until it happens to you. Just days after the school had announced its two week closure, the COVID-19 pandemic escalated to measures I had not thought possible. COVID-19 had reached my town. It was causing major stress and damage to our economy and livelihood. Scariest of all, it was no longer a faraway issue in a distant country but an impending threat that had already affected those close to my family.
For me, one of the most difficult parts of this journey so far has been finding the drive to stay motivated and working. Any sense of structure in my life, from school hours to sports and clubs, has completely disappeared. The rigid school day I’m used to has slumped into a disarray of random hours throughout the day. Creating my own schedule, including staying on top of my work, fitness and projects, has been a real learning curve. Extreme procrastination, boredom and the struggle to communicate efficiently online are battles that have arisen for me because of the absence of explicit deadlines or rules due to online classes. Quite simply, I’ve had to adopt a different style of learning, one which accommodates the restlessness and lethargy that results from hours of staring at a screen.
One of the most difficult parts of this journey so far has been finding the drive to stay motivated and working.
One positive byproduct of the coronavirus crisis is the increased free time it has created. No longer blindly following the routine of being carted off to one activity after another, I have improved on hobbies and started projects that before were just mere ideas in my head. I have noticed the same for others around me as well. My sister has sewn multiple shirts with her free time. One of my brothers has focused on sorting and organizing his coin collection, and the other has been able to make great strides in completing a coding course. My mom started sewing face masks, donating more than eighty as part of a community effort to help during these unprecedented times.
Ultimately, this pandemic has given me the time to think, collect and understand what I really enjoy and want to do. I have ample time to spend with myself and reflect on what I miss about “normal” life. Now, more than ever, I’ve begun to appreciate the phrase “don’t take for granted what you have.” Even though I am stuck at home, I have been quite fortunate to be safe and healthy. We never know what is going to happen next and life can change in an instant.
The Columbian staff: Co-Editors-in-Chief: Martina Zacker ’20 and Nicholas Shires ’20. DesignEditors: Dana Hugel ’20 and Matt McBride ’21. Photo Editor: Arielle Loubier ’21. Art Editor: Avery Soupios ’20. News Editor: Jon Cutler ’20. Arts & Entertainment Editor: Emily Wilner ’20. In-Depth Co-Editors: Noori Zubieta ’20 and Ruari McEwan ’20. Opinions Co-Editors: Jordan Young ’20 and Ari Mehlman ’20. Sports Co-Editors: Sydney Rednik ’20 and Zoe Slavin ’20. Designers: Derek Gutierrez ’20, Jack Griffith ’22, Ethan Walden ’20, Isaac Weber ’21, Charlie Hummel ’21, Sydney Mannion ’22. Advisers for The Columbian are Joshua Enyeart (English Dept.) and Cindy Malhotra (Fine Arts).