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Reflecting on how ‘the littlest things can have the biggest impact’

A student's story

Life has never felt so stagnant. The quarantine appears to be the single overarching topic of this year so far, and all we can dream about is how it “could have been.” It’s easy to wallow in this question as we watch as our spring concert pass on the calendar, our first track meet, softball tournament, class trip. Next will be prom and then graduation.

As a high school student, the struggle to gather motivation can be very difficult right now. We miss the daily routine of school and, even more, we miss our friends. It would be easy to get lost in these discouraging thoughts, but I wanted to look for opportunities that might be hidden in this period of darkness. Time, usually difficult to find for many of us, has been given to us in large quantities. Some of my Millionaire peers have been finding new and interesting ways to put that extra time to good use.

Emma Campbell has been preparing her backyard for the upcoming summer. She is clearing the yard of fallen branches and leaves and is taking the opportunity to freshen up her outdoor furniture as well. She is also looking forward to reading books for leisure again.

David Kong, a junior, has improved his chess game. Aside from this, he also plans to work on computer science and physics projects.

Cheyenne Baker, a junior, has used this quarantine as a period of self-reflection. She pairs this with an opportunity to spend much more time outside and appreciate the gifts of spring. With a busy schedule, she has not been able to do this in the past.

“Now that we are home, we can take time for ourselves and step outside,” Baker said.

Isabelle Brumbaugh is a junior at the high school. She offers a different perspective on how to spend time meaningfully. Rather than delving into a spiral of all things going wrong in the world, Brumbaugh is staying focused on appreciating all the good things in her life and the world.

“I’ve learned to be thankful for all the essential workers that have been working nonstop to help those in need during this rough time,” she said. “Hearing this reminds me that we still have reason to be hopeful for our future. It is my hope that others will not forget all the people sacrificing their own energy and health for the sake of ours.”

Fellow classmates all seemed to feel that a daily schedule is something that helps them feel better. We all know one slight change in our routine, be it a two hour delay or a morning assembly, and the rest of the day feels strange, uncanny. Now, it’s up to us to create a new “normal.”

Gianna Backner, a junior, has shed some light on her routine during quarantine.

“When I wake up, I do my online schoolwork first thing. It helps set me up for a more productive day.”

She is also preparing for an AP English exam, as well as an AP U.S. History exam. Gianna explained that getting her work done at the beginning of the day gives her more freedom to do the things she enjoys like drawing and art.

No matter how long the world remains shut down, there will be an end to it. Someday we will go back to what used to be considered “normal.” We might even be on the slow road back to normalcy today. And we can still get to our destination at five miles an hour even though we wish to go 60.

Now is the time to pick up a novel that has been collecting dust and open it. Now is the time to give the backyard fence a new coat of paint. Now is the time to fix things, make things, do things, learn things.

At the same time, let us try our best to help the others around us.

It is now that we write our stories about the pandemic of 2020, but these stories include so many people besides just ourselves. Helping people doesn’t have to be extraordinary. Write a letter to a family member, donate food to a homeless shelter or simply share a smile with your neighbor.

The littlest things can have the biggest impact. Let’s take advantage of the extra time we have been given, and let’s all write a story we will relish and be proud to share with others for the rest of our lives.

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