Quarantine and Individuality

By: Ally Yager

It is rare for me to be entirely reliant on one person or group of people for constant support. While I love my friends and family as much as anybody, I’ve always been a pretty independent person who can easily adapt to her circumstances. When DPS made the decision to begin remote learning in the spring of the 2019-2020 school year, I would be lying if I said it wasn’t extremely difficult to go for such a long while without hanging out with friends or being able to do fun things in public. However, while there I have experienced strong feelings of isolation, fear of missing out (however irrational that may have been) and boredom, quarantine was also a time of sensational inner peace and serenity. 

For the first few months of quarantine, my family and I lived with our exchange student from Kyrgyzstan, a boy named Emir. While the circumstances weren’t ideal and we were sad that we couldn’t go out and explore Colorado with him, we made the absolute best of the situation and were proud of our newfound optimism and spirit. With my brother and Emir, I enjoyed long, leisure-filled days of biking, watching movies, going on hikes and learning new recipes for baking and cooking. After he left, I was sad, but I think his company helped me regain an appreciation for family and loved ones outside of my social life at East. The school year was challenging and exciting, but I hadn’t fully realized how hectic and frenzied my days had been. Having more time to myself allowed me to fully reflect on that.

The summer brought lots of free time, which was filled with a decent blend of things to preoccupy myself with, of both the hurtful and helpful variety. I ended up cutting my own bangs, which was an exceptionally poor choice on my behalf, but I also came out as bisexual, went on lots of hikes, got into new TV shows and movies, got my driver’s license, read lots of books, educated myself on politics and human rights issues and gained a new sense of style and confidence that I was previously lacking. Proud of myself for doing this all without the constant support of my friends, I felt super productive and emotionally healed. I had no outside influences pressuring me and was able to make decisions for myself, which felt incredible! 

As time went on, I was able to see more friends following all the state coronavirus measures. Thrilled to be in their company again and ready for things to steadily return to normal, I enjoyed and continue to enjoy time spent with them catching up and hanging out. However, I will always remember how I was able to overcome the challenges quarantine presented and how glad that I was able to do that. Once it’s safe, I will be ecstatic to return to school, but I’m grateful for the time I spent during my summer and in quarantine healing, growing and adapting.