🏠😷🦠 Life As A QuaranTEEN 🦠😷🏠 The UnifiEd Student Voice Team Blog Surrounding COVID-19
Hello, my name is Samuel, and I am one of the UnifiEd Student Voice Team’s newest members. I will start off by giving a little bit of background on myself and why I wanted to join the team here at UnifiEd...
I have been a student in Hamilton County Schools my entire life. I have grown up in schools that need money for resources that they simply cannot afford, or with infrastructure failures that they cannot dream of fixing. I joined a student internship group named StepUp Chattanooga (which is run by the Public Education Foundation) in December 2019 to find an experience where my work mattered and was placed with UnifiEd. I interviewed and was accepted onto the Student Voice Team at the beginning of July. I was ecstatic that my work would be able to reach an audience now. I was also beyond excited to be making a difference in my school district so that future students would have a different experience than me.
In quarantine, I had found it hard to find inspiration. Once online school ended for the summer, I saw my friends become less willing to communicate, and I saw how most people around me were losing faith that things would ever improve. Quarantine has saved lives, and that has made it valuable to me; however, I couldn’t help but think how my 16th year alive (I turned 16 only one week before I would have to go into quarantine) was not going how I expected. I ended up picking up personally developing hobbies, starting with learning Spanish and Russian. Even though I am nowhere near fluency, those hobbies kept me mentally focused on something other than my anxiety. This is how I have kept myself calm and how I see many others keeping themselves well. In all, I think quarantine will continue to keep teaching me about myself. Beginning my first job in the middle of a global pandemic was very stressful, and I was worried about what my work at UnifiEd would look like. Thankfully, all of my work has been remote. This fact alone made me sure of this group’s determination for safety and advocacy for protecting students. In summary, quarantine has shifted how I live my life, and my main focuses but has not slowed me or stopped me from what I know I can accomplish.
Hi, my name is Saheli, and I’m one of the new members of the Student Voice Team at UnifiEd. I currently attend Hixson High School as a junior. I came in contact with UnifiEd through StepUp Chattanooga. I joined StepUp this past year, which led me to find fields and jobs that I would enjoy.
During quarantine, I would find myself being lazy at times where I would typically be productive. I would watch Netflix for hours, just binging, show after show, and movie after movie. This also led me to eat more and wear my retainers less. In March, April, and May, school was still happening virtually, so I would continue to do all the assigned work. The online work made me lazy, though. It caused me to procrastinate for days. After a while, I realized I should do something during all this time I have that I wouldn’t usually have. I started hanging out with my family. My dad and I would play cards every day from 9 to 10 p.m. I would do the dishes like normal, and I learned to make food that doesn’t come in a package with instructions. The big thing that upset me when everything started closing was that my 16th birthday was about a week after everything shut down. Even though I wasn’t doing much, I wanted to still be able to hang out with my friends.
I’ve always believed that everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens without purpose, and the 24/7 staying at home made me realize things about myself that I wouldn’t usually think about myself, and I am thankful for that.