Hello Dear Reader,

Before I go on to express this odd experience in words that I believe will not encompass the full reality of it all, I want to say that I hope you are doing well and finding peace during this unexpected time.

As you are reading this, you are existing during a time that will be discussed, analyzed, and reflected in history books, economic studies, etc. Just let that sink in for a bit. Quite interesting, right? So, before you let the books explain the impact this pandemic has on the world, take a moment to reflect on how it has impacted you…

Do you think of things differently? Maybe it is as small as the way you wash your hands or for the simple, yet sincere meaning of talking to an interesting human being face-to-face? Has your schedule been blown to pieces and placed back together in an unorganized fashion?

If you are finished reflecting or would rather read of another’s experience, then please continue reading.

My name is Melanie Taylor. I was recently a senior digitally attending the lovely Hauser Jr. Sr. High School. How has this COVID-19 situation impacted my life/education/last year of high school, you ask? Well, my new acquaintance, sit back and relax for this one.

So, I am going to be completely honest with you. After I found out that the school year would be finished online and graduation will most likely be an online experience, it took me a few days to come back to finish this article. It was hard to write about something that I wasn't ready to accept yet. I have tried to avoid thinking about it all, whether it meant wandering into the pages of a book or sleeping in.

I don’t just speak for myself when I say this was a significant chapter in life that ended sooner than I expected or hoped. Even though we seniors complain about having to wait so long to finally leave this place, a part of us will always miss it. I no longer find myself rushing to class, walking down the hallways and saying “howdy” and “good morning” to such familiar faces, or laughing with a friend as we catch up. The school holds many memories, the good, the bad, the ugly - but all experiences contributing to our growth.

After the cancellation of school, I lost most of the structure in my life. I lost a lot of motivation. We always are asking for more time to do things outside of school. But with a surplus of time on our hands and little to do with it, it's quite tortuous.

Thanks to e-learning, structure somewhat returned and interaction with my peers increased, bringing a bit of hope and brightness. It is something to take my mind off of things, such as how much I miss all of my teachers and peers.

Though it has taken some time, I have been able to see the glass half full. Staying at home has allowed for many good things to occur. I get to spend more time with my family before I leave for college. I have discovered more things about myself - what types of books I like, how to find motivation, things I would like to work on, and so on. Most importantly, it has taught me the importance of self-discipline. Without bells dismissing me from classes and telling me to start others, I have to have the discipline to do it myself. A very good thing to work on before college and the freedom that comes with it.

Overall, slowing down has been interesting. I am eager to learn more lessons outside of school - whether education wise or for life in general. Keeping a positive mindset through it all may be difficult, but it is important. While students might not be physically attending school, faculty at Hauser have devoted much effort and time to not only provide students proper education but lift up our spirits too. Thank you to the students and faculty who are spreading kindness and hope as best as they can.

And, to do the same for you, here is a quote I find to be fitting to this time:

“Do not lose hope,
please believe that there are
a thousand beautiful things waiting for you.
Sunshine comes to all who feel rain.”
– R. M. Drake 

Thank you, R.M. Drake, for that lovely quote. May the odds be in your favor every now and then (for if they were forever in your favor, life could never throw surprises at you, and in time, it might become quite boring).

So, to you, dear reader, I wish for you something to treasure today. May you stay safe in this odd time.