By Louie Chung
Summer ended in the blink of an eye: I remember feeling panicked. When quarantine began, I thought, finally, some time to work on myself without the stress of school. With time on my side, I began looking for ways to improve my life. I read countless Medium articles and watched many inspiring TedTalks. However, as time went on, like the stereotypical teen I am, I began to put off my self-improvement projects to the next day, then the next week, then the next month. Before I knew it, summer vacation was over and school was starting the next day. Why had I spent the past few months stuffing my face with ‘Famous Amos’ cookies and watching reruns of ‘The Office?’ I thought. Unlike me, however, some of our South High staff spent their time slightly differently, choosing to integrate new hobbies and projects into their lives.
As a long-time participant in high-intensity contact activities such as wrestling, boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Special Education teacher and Varsity Fencing Head Coach Mr. Joshua Baravarian found it especially difficult to adjust to the stagnancy quarantine brought. So, with social distancing on his mind, he bought a road bike and headed out onto the open road. Biking is an outlet for Mr. Baravarian; he grabs his AirPods, puts on his shoes and bikes for twenty miles as a way to disconnect for a while. He says that once he’s out there, the only thought in his head is to avoid getting hit by passing cars. “We’re kinda stuck. There’s no parties, there’s no movie theaters, there’s no hanging out with your friends. The things that we do are very limited, so we have to find ways of getting through it until things get back to normal,” said Mr. Baravarian. Having that outlet has allowed him to deal with the frustrations and boredom that quarantine brings while staying fit, safe and healthy.
Guidance Counselor Mrs. Carly Bank was training for a half marathon when COVID-19 threw a wrench into her plans. However, she adjusted quickly and discovered the popular trend called the Running Streak where the only criteria is to run at least a mile every day. Mrs. Bank ran at least 3 miles for the first 100 days, keeping the streak alive even in torrential downpours and hurricanes. Running has become an activity she loves doing; she emphasizes that if people love something, they should prioritize it. She is currently on Day 151, and does not plan on stopping any time soon, even as life slowly gets back to normal
Some people used these unprecedented times to finish projects that they’ve been putting off for an extended period. For Special Education teacher Mrs. Tamara Fernandez, that’s exactly what she did, finishing a “paint-by-number” she had started over a year and a half ago. A paint-by-number is a pre-drawn picture that is divided up into numbered areas with assigned colors, perfect for people who have limited time on their hands. She recently returned to the painting when, unfortunately, her mother-in-law passed away during lockdown. “After [my mother-in-law] passed, I’m glad that I had the painting to work on. When I’m painting for an hour, nothing else really matters,” said Mrs. Fernandez. When she had finally finished, she felt accomplished and plans on hanging the picture up in her house.
This beautiful fall painting is the end result of Mrs. Fernandez’s project. She chose this painting for its vibrant fall colors, with an added bonus of the couple in the rain, which reminds her of her husband.
When the Coronavirus forced us into quarantine, the playing field was leveled for everyone. We were separated from our friends, confined in our homes, and bored out of our minds. If you were like me, you actively ignored the chance to better yourself. However, these teachers have shown that, despite these frustrating conditions, all it takes is a reframing of your situation and your mentality. As the world came to a halt, these people used this lockdown to their advantage. They went out and tried new activities that challenged them mentally and physically. “Nowadays, we have to find things to fill in our time until life gets back to normal. We can’t just sit and wait and put our life on pause,” Mr. Baravarian said. Next time the world slows down, don’t spend that time picking your nose. Go out and work.