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The Student News Site of The Preuss School

The Preuss Insider

The Student News Site of The Preuss School

The Preuss Insider

Pandemic Life

Analy Perez (‘22)

What I’ll always remember about 2020 is the severe desire to go outside. I never really labeled myself as someone who loves the outdoors until 2020 came around. I loved going out, but I didn’t consider myself someone who enjoys the outdoors. Someone who takes in the beauty of nature or is fascinated by nature. When quarantine started on that fateful Friday, the state of California made a statement regarding those with compromised immune systems. We were told to avoid going out in public and to “social distance”, a new term for me. I was upset by this statement, but I understood that it had to be done for my own good. A week and a half went by where I didn’t feel the sun on my skin. My bedroom window became my portal to the outside. I would sit down by the window and do my makeup just to temporarily save myself from boredom. As I did my makeup, I would glance at the window and yearned to go outside. As months came and went, I continued looking out the window, even when I figured a way to go out and come back feeling safe that I didn’t contract the virus. I reminisced all the times I would wake up at 6 in the morning and looked out the same window thinking about how tired I was and how much I didn’t want to go to school. To this day, I look out that window and watch the cars pass by or I look at the stars and think about how I used to wish to go outside in 2020.

Andy Garcia  (‘22)

This year has been lonely for me because I have not been able to see any of my friends. Although in the beginning I felt ecstatic because of not having school, I soon came to the realization that school is the only place where I get to socialize with other people. Although I do talk to them virtually almost every day, it is not the same as talking to them in person. I am not alone in the literal sense, but I feel isolated emotionally and mentally. I feel as if no matter how hard I try to get out of this toxic mentality and to be the same person as I was last year seems utterly impossible. What I’ll always remember about 2020 is the complete disaster the world came to be. I cannot fathom how numerous events causing chaos all over the world took place in a single year. So much sadness took over the lives of many people in 2020.

What people don’t understand about my life of the past year is how important it is to me. There were some days where I felt truly alive but there were most days where I felt at my lowest. A brand new year has started and though I hated 2020, I truly do think that this was a pivotal moment in my life where I learned how to rely on others and how to keep moving forward no matter how painful the obstacles I face are.

Amaris Jordan  (‘22)

What I’ll always remember about 2020 will be the events that occured. 2020 did not want to be the forgotten year. It seemed like everyday there was something new, one upping the previous day every time. Some news was hard to take in and I had to stop myself from looking but it was everywhere. I soon learned that this is just something that I will have to deal with, I normalized tragedy. If it got to the point where I was on the verge of throwing up, I let the thought, “this is normal”, fill my mind. Many days where I didn’t want to think about the news, I sat down playing games or watching TV. Scrolling through social media alone made me feel as though I was drowning. The type of drowning where I knew there was no way I was going back to the surface. Everything that popped onto my feed added 10 pounds of sorrow. 

The many movements, such as BLM and Protect Asian Lives, made me worry, not only for the people put into those situations but also for my own parents. There was always hate like this towards the black community, but during quarantine asian hate crimes increased by 150%. So, I do not feel that fearing the fact that those I keep close to my heart are in danger whenever they are outside. My coping mechanism is to laugh it off or try to make a joke about my own trauma, but in these types of situations I can’t.

Danny Nguyen (‘22)

We all thought this little pandemic would last only for a few weeks. But look at where we are now. It’s been almost a year and still, nothing changed. A whole two weeks with no school sounded great huh. But little did we know, that whole two weeks turned into a WHOLE year. Schools decided to switch over to virtual learning, as thought to be the best choice. But unfortunately, only a few people were able to adapt to this new learning environment while others got the short end of the stick when it came to virtual learning.

This year has been rather easy and enjoyable for me. I enjoyed staying indoors rather than being outside more than anything. So when I heard that we were going to be learning from the comfort of our homes, I was filled with content. It was like a dream for me. Being able to attend school from home. However, working at home with school took a toll.  Boredom struck because of the same routine. I decided on a hobby that would be fitting for my major/career in the future and one that I would enjoy the most. The hobby I picked up was photo editing. I take pictures that I have taken or photos that people send me. I would let my creativity shine and create something unique that represents the person’s personality or mine. I’ve always wanted to do photo editing but never had the luxury because of my tedious schedule. 

This is a picture that I took of my home a year ago. With the skills that I have learned, I changed this photo to my desired style which is a more old school black and white feeling. Also known as Noir colors from those old tv shows and old school crime movies.

Eddy Joseph (‘22)

March 13th, 2020, no school we were told. “There’s a global pandemic,” they said, I laughed, what does that even mean? April 7th, 2020, “We will continue distance learning until further notice”- Dr. Griffith. At this point I knew we would not be returning to school, I was ecstatic. April 8th, 2020 “Mom we are not going back to school!!, can we get a dog, now that we will have time to take care of it?” No, she said I did not give up. April 11th, 2020, “What time do you guys want to pick out our new puppy?” His name is Storm, the first 2 photos you see are 2 months apart. Storm just turned 1 on Valentine’s day. 

These 3 images mean a lot to me, on the left a 2-month-old puppy, in the middle, a 4-month-old friend, and on the right that’s my best friend. I’ve raised him, I’ve been with him every day of his life, he doesn’t yet know a world where I am at school for 12 hours a day. He doesn’t know a life where I have to stay after school for sports, or when I get home from school so late and so tired I just go to bed. For me this is my “One Year Later” and not only do you get to read about it, but you can also see what one year looks like! As you look left to right. And this is My So-Called Pandemic Life.

Geovanna Garza (‘22)

The year 2020 has been very eye opening to me because it has allowed me to become very in tune with my own thoughts. This was due to the fact that I had a lot of extra freetime on my hands. Before the pandemic, most of my time went to doing school work and hanging out with friends. But since the privilege of socialization was stripped away from me, and essentially the whole world, I was able to expand my learning interests and learn more about myself than ever before. I had realized that I have been taking advantage of many things that I deemed normal. This includes a home, food, electricity/electronics, parents, friends, and even nature. Nature specifically has allowed me to view the world in a more positive way and even see the beauty in my own city. 

This image that I took during quarantine of the Coronado Bay Bridge has enabled me to see the beauty of the sky that I see everyday and always seemed to overlook in the past. In the background, Sunny San Diego is depicted with it’s large buildings and majestic bridge. Due to the mandatory lockdown period of the pandemic, I was extremely missing the nightlife of San Diego and how open and free it had always seemed to be. In previous times, I never really admired my city and environment as much as I do now. My profound interest in nature has shaped my entire life and has opened me to become a more well rounded and aware human being.

Hawaa Bahreldin (‘24)

This year has been alright because there is some good in this year and there are some bad in this year. One good thing about this year is that I have a lot of time to try out new hobbies. Since quarantine, I started to draw more. I learned how to draw different kinds of flowers. I also learned how to crochet a scarf. I’ve always wanted to learn how to crochet a scarf; however, I didn’t have time to, due to the long school hours. Now the school hours are shorter, so I have plenty of time to crochet a scarf. One bad thing about this year is that COVID-19 is still spreading. We still have to social distance, wear masks, etc. This is bad because many of the opportunities like summer internships are virtual or canceled.

Jenny Giang (‘22)

Life this past year has been like living in a dream but also in a dungeon. I love that I am able to sleep in a bit more during the weekdays not having to worry about missing the bus. Classes are shorter and my free time is longer. I have less worries and I can focus on things I like to do. This past year I have had more time for my hobbies. I have cooked more this year than I have in my entire life. With all this precious time, I was able to finish countless chinese dramas on my drama waiting list. Starting last June I enrolled in an online kpop idol training program with real korean choreographers and vocal trainers that work with kpop idols. Though waiting every month to receive my evaluation has been a bit stressful.

 Beginning in February my life has been deja vu, as if I am living in the same days over and over again. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I wake up at 8:40 with my alarm then put a timer for 3 minutes to rest a bit more. When that timer rings I get out of bed and wash up, ready for school. After school I would take an hour break from electronics to rest my eyes. At 5:00  – 10:30 I have dance classes to attend, showering and eating dinner in between, since I was chosen to be an ambassador for my dance program. After that I would do homework, watch my chinese dramas, and then sleep. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, everything is the same as Tuesdays and Thursdays, except I don’t have dance classes but instead I have to record the dances I learned in class and post a review on instagram. I also practice dance for at least an  hour after dinner. Saturday and Sunday would be my rest time as you would think but that is not the case. After lunch on Saturday, I have to send it a recording of a dance I learned from my online training program and send it in for feedback. On Sunday I also have dance classes from 5:00-10:30. After a while this routine feels repetitive and sometimes even tiring.

 I started missing going outside. I never liked being cooped up in one place for a long time. I yearn to see the sun and go out and have fun. I began to feel as if I was a princess locked up in a castle surrounded by raging seas and jagged rocks as you see in story books. In the beginning living in the castle, everything was nice, but as time went on it felt empty. However, unlike many people quarantining has not been overwhelming for me. I didn’t get any more responsibilities nor did I get any more anxieties. 

 When will our lives be back to normal. I have a senior year and a summer program in Korea I am looking forward to, but will this all be destroyed by one little mutant. But, what I will always remember are the memories I have spent with my friends and family this year. This malfunction in society has not stopped me from spending time with them.

“A doodle of a friend that I spent my time with over quarantine.”

Katherine Phan (‘22)

For many people, quarantine can be suffocating but for me, I found it as an opportunity to do what I have always wanted to do. As a person who has low social energy, after waking up at 6 am and getting back home at 7 pm, I instantly knock out at home, which makes it impossible to find the time or energy to do what I love. However, because of quarantine, I have hours, no days, on hand which made me bewildered on how I should spend it. Quarantine to me is like a big quest, similar to the games I play. I found my way to side quests, such as starting commissions for my art or learning how to play instruments like the electric guitar and ukulele. Nevertheless, I found the best part of this “quest” to be being able to do it with like-minded people. I like to imagine the internet as a small village that brings people from all over the world together into a close community where you can share ideas and interact. Being able to find people that would enjoy the activities I enjoy has made my quarantine a lot less boring and repetitive. Even though we zoomed through quarantine (quite literally) and we start to near the end of the pandemic I get reminded of my favorite book/TV/game trope: “Maybe the real treasure was the friends we made on the way”. Although it may be a bit cliche, I found that the friends I wouldn’t have found if not for quarantine are immensely dear to me. That one time they spent hours trying to explain a math concept to me or our Christmas Secret Santa and Halloween DIY costume celebrations, these are experiences that I would never give away … well…  if not for an extremely, extremely, extremely, extremely large sum of money (just kidding lol)

Kebron Russom (‘22)

With the quarantine I have been cooped up in my house for most of the day with nothing to do. For a long time I just stayed in my room trying to watch videos to pass the time. Finally I decided that instead of staying bored I should try something that I always wanted to do but put off because I never had enough time. The hobby that I picked up was baking. Before quarantine I barely knew how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but since I am able to spend a lot more time at home I can now teach myself how to bake things whether it be by watching youtube videos or having my mom teach me how to make something. Something I’ve always wanted to make were cinnamon rolls. They always tasted so good, so I decided to go for it. Little did I know that it would take almost the entire day to make just one batch. I decided to take the extra time I had because of quarantine and make them. I am trying to look at the positives of quarantine because even though a lot of bad came from the coronavirus some good came out of it too. At the beginning of the quarantine I was super down about being forced to stay home, and the fact that I wasn’t able to go out and do something fun, but I’ve learned to deal with it by getting hobbies and learning new things to pass the time.

Marcella Dixon (‘22)

Ever since March 13th of last year, I felt like everything around me had drifted away, almost intangible, and I was left with just a laptop, logging into zoom to start class. I’ve felt warmth and happiness because my teachers and classmates were there on zoom, but at the same time, empty and isolated because what’s left of my classmates and teachers were just boxes with their names and audios. I have mixed feelings about quarantine and whether or not we’re going back to Preuss. For once, I even hoped to go back on campus and sit at a regular desk on a regular chair and feel my hand gripping the pencil to start writing. Now that quarantine had arrived, I wrote everything online, including my Cornell notes for history.  As I stare blankly at the laptop screen, I even wonder about what my future would be if the pandemic isn’t over. I could imagine myself working and doing everything on a computer and having to wear a mask while traveling. Maybe even going out places and keeping my distance while interacting with people. Hopefully, that wasn’t the case. All that I have to do now is to be safe during this pandemic and hope for it to be over any time soon.

Meliya Russom (‘22)

In the summer of 2020, my suitcase was tucked in the corner of my closet. It was glaringly empty, when it should have been so filled with clothes, shoes, and books that I would barely be able to close it, at least, that was what I had envisioned. At the end of June, I believed I would pack my bags and head to the east coast for the first time. There, I would spend my days taking a writing course, meeting new students from all over the world, and participating in team bonding activities. Little did I know when we were sent home in March, my plans for a one of a kind summer were dashed. March marked the beginning of many days trapped at home, and for many of us who had amazing trips lined up for the summer it would be all the more devastating. All of a sudden students were hearing back that their programs were either cancelled or would be completely online. Unfortunately, I learned that the summer program I had applied for would not be held that summer. While I felt extremely disappointed, I also realized that I had no idea what I would do over the six week break. 

Even though a month and two weeks seems like a short summer vacation, the fact that everything was closed due to the pandemic made it feel endless. Fortunately, during all that time, I made the best of the situation by getting into new hobbies and taking a virtual coding class. Although it wasn’t the big summer I had looked forward to, I still had a great experience at home. And although I wasn’t able to use my suitcase last summer, I am optimistic that next summer things will be different. I won’t stay home forever; I will see the world again.

Nicole Tran (‘22)

During quarantine, I have been reading a lot more at night for leisure and so I can sleep more comfortably. One of the books I have read during quarantine is called Reflection by Elizabeth Lim. Reflection is a novel that is a part of the Disney Twisted Tale Stories that are basically alternative events that could have occurred during different Disney movies. This novel is about Mulan travelling to the underworld to save Li Shang from the process of reincarnation with the help of the Li guardian named Shi Shi. Although the story starts in the overworld while fighting the Hun, a majority of the story is in the underworld named Diyu. In this novel, there are several parts that represents a person during quarantine.

The settings of Reflection represent different parts of a person when that person encounters something that is new while implementing parts of Chinese mythology in it. Before I can discuss the characters, it is important to discuss the setting which is called Diyu. In Chinese Mythology, Diyu is the underworld that is ruled by King Yama, the god of the underworld. Diyu can be described as an unknown territory which is how we all felt stepping into an age of quarantine. The overworld can be described as being somewhere that we are familiar with. The overworld and Diyu are the only two main locations that can be compared to how this pandemic is in terms of known and unknown territory.

Another aspect of Reflection that can be compared to this pandemic are the characters of Mulan, Li Shang, and Shi Shi. The protagonist, Mulan, serves as the human mind since she was the one who thought about going to save Li Shang, how to get out of Diyu, and her bargaining with King Yama. The deuteragonist, Li Shang, represents the human oil because in the novel, he was literally soul but he all gave Mulan hope and aided Mulan in her journey. Finally, the Li family guardian, Shi Shi represents human security because he was a guardian to the Li family but also he was a source of safety aas he was briefly away from Li Shang and Mulan to help fight a few enemies.

Xochitl Garcia (‘22)

Lockdown began in the second week of March 2020. Many students, including myself, were really excited that our spring break was going to be extended for 2 weeks. The excitement in student’s voices were everywhere, ready to sleep in. As days went by, I was on my phone more than before, scrolling through social media and messaging my friend. The two weeks of spring break had been over but there was no news about returning to school because of the increasing coronavirus cases. Tiktok became one the most popular apps and many teens were sharing their stories of their quarantine. Everything seemed pretty well, quarantine was something new for many people. It did not take long for things to change. The environment at home began to feel claustrophobic because we had to stay at home, only allowed to go out for groceries or other necessities. Malls were closed and wearing masks were also enforced in order to stay safe. 

This painting represents my life during quarantine. There is only one hospital building to represent the amount of times my mom went to the hospital starting since August, and the limited capacity of hospitals throughout the world due to the increase of covid cases in the beginning of 2020. The green scenery in the front represents growth. The weeds were watered with tears from several gloomy and unmotivated days during the storm, the pandemic along with personal struggles. There are weeds tangled together to illustrate my struggles and the struggles of many people, but the colorful flowers represent that we are still fighting through those challenges. The bench in the middle represents someone sitting there, surrounded by those weeds and not knowing what to do. In the back of the painting, buildings and cars represent that life goes on.

Yesenia Preciado (‘22)

What seems like an eternal winter, will eventually fade, unless I reach out my hand and pray that I have the strength to change. 

At age 16, at the verge of adulthood and the end of my childhood, I had experienced my first global pandemic. I am now 17 years old and still living in a pandemic, experiencing the “teenage life” in my bedroom. The teenage life and growing up comes with responsibility and dedication they say, but they never mentioned anything about doing it all behind closed doors. I can grow up on my own. I told myself, I  just have to find the right key to open myself up to an opportunity. That’s exactly what I did. I got a job. First step to adulthood, securing the bag. I applied to be a receptionist at a nail salon in September, with zero social interaction since March 13th. It all came rushing back. My enthusiasm, my jokes, and my talkative self came to my interview with me. I was still there, I just couldn’t wait for this”eternal winter” to end on its own in order to find myself again. I needed to do the work and reach out for what I needed. What I needed, was to find the right opportunity and provide for myself, because I felt that I was all I had. I am now the social media, and the shop’s weekend manager. Who knew booking appointments and talking to clients was the peak of my teenage life.

America Marin (‘22)

Quarantine for me felt like the “dark ages” and a “renaissance” for me because I went through so many different phases of artistic hobbies. Back in March 2020, I was overwhelmed by the feeling of whether I was going to go back to school and live my life like I used to. Would I be able to adapt to this new lifestyle? Will my family and friends be okay?  However I eased that stress by taking advantage of being at home all day everyday to go through artistic hobbies like a new years resolution. I tried baking, cooking, painting, knitting, and finally journaling. I am still not the best at all the things I have tried in this past year but one of the hobbies that truly knew how to cherish was journaling.  

Journaling always felt like an invasion of privacy and felt redundant for me to write down what had already happened. Why can’t I just live in the moment, why should I write it down? Now journaling feels like a therapy and a way to unload all of my thoughts. Just today I am looking back on these pages from my journal back in June 2020. It’s so wholesome to see all my enthusiasm for all my free time at home and how I was so persistent in spending it. Almost a year later after that entry I still can’t ride a skateboard and I still struggle to get attached to a book but I have taken that time to reach a comfort in writing down my thoughts on paper.

Lilian Huynh (‘22)

Keys, phone, wallet, water, and mask. Most importantly, the mask. Don’t forget the mask. With the announcement of the mask mandate, it was the new essential to leaving the house. It took a little getting used to at first. My mom, sister, and I would get up from the car, take a few steps, and suddenly get a feeling that we’re missing something — THE MASK. We’d make our little round trip back to the car to retrieve the masks all in hopes of protecting ourselves and others from the spread of the virus. 

It was weird at first, seeing only the eyes of everyone walking around. Seeing everyone socially distant, six feet apart at what was once a crowded grocery store. Seeing everyone obsessively sanitizing everything and washing their hands. It felt like a scene from a sci-fi movie. But of course, as it became the new norm, I don’t even bat an eye at it anymore. If anything, I don’t even mind it. I kind of like it. If I felt ugly one day, I easily just used my mask as a cover up. No one needed to see what I looked like underneath or the funny faces I’d make when I’m concentrating hard on something. It was like a faint invisibility power. It might get a little hot at times but on the bright side, the chance of accidentally, awkwardly running into someone you know in public has significantly lowered.

Wendy Vidal Grande (‘22)

Besides the whole downhearted and despairing year we all experienced, I can actually say I learned a lot by reflecting on myself. It became weird for me to actually discover talents or so called feelings I didn’t even know I had, but it made me realize life can be fun when you decide what to do with it. At first I was very thrilled on hearing the news of school closing down and extra sleep time, but unfortunately it became longer. No one ever thought this pandemic would take a whole year or even more, it was all very unexpected. It became clear to me that I had to motivate myself to start doing activities that would keep me busy or at least distract me from the horrible tragedies this pandemic caused in my personal life. As days went by I found myself rewatching my favorite animes I hadn’t seen in a while and continued watching the ones I was currently on. It brought such joy and peace that it distracted me from what was going on in the world, such good vibes. Just the excitement it brought was enough to keep me entertained and at least think I was in that world, oh how I wished I was. Overall watching my favorite animes was my way to cope with the dilemmas that were out of control, the fun it brought was what really helped me see the good side of the world, that anime is the best!

The images that will stay with me forever are the two above. As I said before I discovered new talents I didn’t know I had for example, drawing and painting. As far as I know I’ve always been bad at both. But learned that it actually takes patience and time for art to come out perfectly. It turns out that I did have the ability to do art and be patient with time. The first picture above on the left, is one of my favorite anime characters named Saitama from the anime “One Punch Man”. It is a very funny and interesting anime that makes the main character, Saitama, a superhero that’s so strong that he can’t be beaten making him bored and tries to find a strong opponent that will. I decided to glass-paint his face expression of the scene where he looks the funniest. (Only some will get this scene if you’ve watched it 😉 On the right is the art I did for another anime I also enjoy called “Attack on Titan” but this time on a canvas. I did the scout regiment symbol that represents the wings of freedom because it really captured my attention when I first watched this since it plays a big role in the storyline. Just making a little bit of art from there made me excited, as if I was also part of them. Making these paintings made my life entertaining and even managed to get compliments from people that encouraged me to keep doing art even if it isn’t from anime.

Alessandra Mata (‘22)

It was a lovely vibrant day on March 6th, 2020 as I recall it. It was 7:10 a.m., the sun rose brighter than New York City. Yet something within me told me it wasn’t going to be an ordinary day. At 7:20 a.m., my sister and I were on our way to school when she began to feel her body sore. She described the pain as if she had been suddenly struck by a powerful baseball bat. I told her to ignore her discomfort, and to focus on the day she had ahead of herself. It was 5:30 p.m. when I got home from a long draining day at school. When I got home, it was odd for my home to be so quiet as if I had gone into a church during mass. After a few seconds of silence, my mother shouted, “I’m upstairs.” I started walking upstairs, and when I entered my mother’s bedroom, I saw my sister laying on my mother’s queen-size bed, my sister appeared to have almost no strength in any way, she was shockingly pale. Her skin was as yellow as the sunflower that had just flourished. The warmth of her body had been over 100, she appeared to warm up as quick as the Lut Desert. We rushed my sister to Grossmont Emergency Room as quickly as possible. When we arrived at the hospital, we were paused, the nurses began questioning us whether if we had experienced any fevers or severe headaches, we’d been monitored for our temperature. The nurses and doctors were all wearing masks and plastic protective clothing, something peculiar which has never transpired before. Typically, if you’re off to a hospital, you’ll always head in without being examined. Unfortunately, my sister was diagnosed with the flu, as we waited for further results, I noticed there was no single medical practitioner without a mask or a protective suit. It was 10:38 p.m. The room was terribly quiet, I stood up and turned the television on to the news. That’s when we found that the coronavirus epidemic had significantly increased, and the number of people infected had also risen exponentially. The man on the press started to alert us of a possible lockdown, my parents and I were in disbelief. I stopped and started to think intensely, staring at my parents and nurses. Everything warned me things were going to change drastically, but I was committed to fighting whatever was coming and not let it take me down.