Life as she knew it


Arpita Das

A picture of my middle school art project 2 months after school shut down.

She thought she would go to school on Friday. That one day of the week, she was ecstatic to attend school for two reasons: the day before, she was nominated for student of the month, and the next day was a half day. That Friday, school was canceled because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Little did she know that she would have a six-month summer break, which was the longest break she’s had ever since before she went to young fives. 

Eventually, she started high school, but she didn’t know what it entailed. She had always hoped for that perfect friend group and maybe even a significant other when ninth grade rolled around. But, her dreams started to dissolve into thin air the second she started her freshman year, where school was confined within the four walls of her bedroom and the corners of her computer screen.

Her first day of high school, her first Homecoming, and all of those other firsts were ones she wanted to experience with her friends who were already doing that in person. She considered not doing school through her district but made the switch at the last minute and can’t imagine the trajectory of her life without that decision she almost didn’t make. 

Because of that decision, she learned to be more flexible and was able to meet a lot of her favorite teachers online. Freshman year was difficult, but she got through it and was more terrified to go in person sophomore year. She felt like a freshman going into her sophomore year and felt disconnected from her grade. 

Because eventually, she realized that, this was life as she knew it

She didn’t know where anything was, but luckily, there were a lot of teachers that were willing to help her. She didn’t know what she was doing, but she was doing it. But, her course load was too heavy.  The first semester felt like walking through a jungle blindfolded, and the second semester felt like walking up Mount Everest and was never-ending. 

Although it took her more time than expected, after 12 months, she started to get the hang of things because she found her own outlet through writing. She finally had all her firsts a year later.

Unfortunately, the ending of her sophomore year was draining, unexpected, and carried into her summer and start of junior year. Summer was not as relaxing as she had hoped, but she was still persevering, hopeful for what junior year had to offer. 

Luckily, junior year felt like a fresh start, and she was presented with the opportunity to write a string of stories presenting a topic that she was passionate about: grades. She got her license, and her grades advanced. But, one mistake led to the downfall of her semester. 

Her mistakes lead her into a spiral of sadness, and first semester did not go as anticipated. The last day of exams rolled around, and she couldn’t have been more stressed out. Even though she was in her favorite class surrounded by gifts and Christmas music, all she could think about was her grades. She wanted a break so badly, and luckily, it was right around the corner, but it didn’t go how she expected. 

The new year rolled around, and she was excited—okay, not really. She was actually a little bit lost but more hopeful this time. This was because she knew what obstacles she was going to circumvent going into her second semester of junior year. 

She started the year off strong by attending not one but two competitions for two new clubs she decided to join this year: DECA and Model UN. 

Looking back, she couldn’t have been more excited for both and was so grateful she got to attend the events. Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, her grades weren’t looking so graceful, but, luckily, talking to a teacher helped changed her perspective on academics and helped her see the situation from another viewpoint. 

February rolled around, and her grades started fluctuating like crazy, almost like the Seven Seas. Although life in the present moment was being unpredictable, it was all worth it when she saw the final report of her grades from last semester. She almost burst into tears of joy and was filled with 1 million emotions at once because that was the day she learned an unforgettable lesson: stressing over events that have already happened will not change the outcome of them. 

And then, she realized that life will not always be fair, which is a lesson she learned her sophomore year and a phrase her uncle used to say a lot. But, as long as she continued to make the most of it, that’s all that truly mattered. 

Because, whether she liked it or not, this was life as she knew it.