I live in a dystopia

March 25, 2021 5:15 PM

a crown icon and the words "rising voices award winner"
Color-coded excerpt of a daily schedule. Photo taken and submitted by author.

Color-coded excerpt of a daily schedule. Photo taken and submitted by author.

Diary Entry 1

Debate city championships were last weekend. They came too quickly. I still cling to the feeling that I had at the last city champs as if they happened a week ago. The warmth in the group hug that my teammates pulled me and my partner into after it was revealed that we were going to finals. The way I squealed when the judges called my name. The pride I felt throughout the week as I practiced speed-reading with anything, from my evidence to the Bible and researched every semi-relevant topic I could think of.

I still carry the disappointment of when I came to my last practice before finals and found out that, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, nationals and finals were canceled. I had known that was a possibility, but it still didn’t feel real. This was before the virus felt real, when everything felt as though we would have a two-week break from school and return back to normal. 

I hold that disappointment in my heart closer than I could ever hold that elated feeling of pride. My pride was brief. It flashed before me. I was happy for a moment and then I wasn’t. 

But disappointment is unwavering. I was disappointed when finals were canceled. I was disappointed when I got an email from BPS that revealed that school wouldn’t reopen in April as initially planned. I was disappointed whenever I logged onto a Zoom class, or got a less than perfect grade on a quiz I hadn’t properly studied for because I wasn’t sure if it was graded based on accuracy or effort. 

And one day it just stopped. I stopped feeling that disappointment. I didn’t get happier. Conditions only got worse. Disappointment just became so normal that I no longer needed to feel it. 

Diary Entry 2

I live in a dystopia.

Every day I look outside and see people walking as far away as possible from each other. Masks tied tightly around their faces. The sky is gray today and it makes it ever more unreal. The world is unreal.

It’s not, of course. The virus is as real as ever. It almost doesn’t feel weird anymore. It’s just how life is now. Masks, distance, vaccines, hand sanitizer. It’s all part of life. We don’t need an underdog hero to save us from our society. Someday life will be normal again. But for now, everything just feels like a dystopia. 

So I adapted. I got organized. I made a schedule, got extremely on top of my grades. I started to track everything; water intake, assignments, time. Everything is organized. It has to be to keep me in control. Everything is scheduled: 

Wake up. 

Study for x amount of hours. 

Drink this amount of water. 

Eat all those healthy foods. 

Engage with your teachers y number of times.

 Exercise for so many minutes. 

Journal these many words. 

Wash your face and do chores. 

“Good night, Mom.”

Take a break for this long.

Read a certain amount of pages.

Close your eyes and fall asleep.

Repeat steps 1-12 until Friday evening.

My life is a dystopia. 

Diary Entry 3

Go back in person or stay home? This is what BPS forced me to answer between Monday and today. One week. Not enough time to make a decision about my entire life. Especially since either decision doesn’t feel like a good one.

My school’s headmaster said that all teachers will probably be vaccinated and that we could switch from class to class again by the return date. He said that everything hopefully wouldn’t be online like it is now. The idea of that is so enticing. Having real debates in my civics class, actually speaking to my Spanish teacher, doing experiments in my science class with more than some salt and water in my kitchen. It sounds like a dream. 

But what if it’s not like that? If I have to go into school and sit at a desk with headphones on, watching a teacher through a screen even though they're only a few feet away from me? What if I get sick? What if it’s not worth it?

Still, whenever I see the hybrid kids waving at people behind them or talking to their teacher, I get jealous. I’d rather see my friends from a distance and get my education in the building and through a Chromebook than just sit in my room lonely, knowing I’ll never get to meet my teachers or the classmates that I didn’t know last year. But that happiness I’m desperate for isn’t a guarantee. 

Go back in person or stay home? A week really isn’t enough time to make that decision. 

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