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Distance Learning: From Beginning to End

By August, I was ready to face whatever the school year wanted to throw at me. I spent days trying to figure out the best table and chair positions so I could endure the long hours I knew I would be spending in front of a screen.

First week done. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.


August 21, 2020. A Journal Entry.

My first week is over. The schedule is peculiar, but I'm sure it will change very soon. I find myself confused a lot of the time, and it's only been five days! I guess I was expecting more. I would've been seeing friends and catching up right now. What a bummer. (Sad face drawing.)

I haven't met all of my teachers yet, and but none of them seem too bad. I'm worried that I won't be able to get to know them well this year. I actually have a lot of worries. I'm afraid that I will have to eat spaghetti and lucky charms every single day as well. No one is going grocery shopping!


One month passed, and I was struggling with what to do with myself. A lot of time was spent on the couch playing video games and helplessly trying to exercise during the scorching days of Indian Summer. Though I was working towards more goals than I ever thought I would have, my expectations for myself grew higher and higher. Fewer distractions caused my bored mind to hook on unnecessary worries and thoughts. I felt alone, scared, and hopeless.


October 8, 2020. A Journal Entry.

Today was a bit difficult. The feeling of incapability hit hard today, and I felt incredibly ridiculous, idiotic, and useless. I don't treat myself as well as I should, and sometimes my life just I'm not really happy at times, and I wish I were born a different person. Everything that I have in front of me is never enough, and my life feels incomplete. I just want to be happy with who I am.

A lot of realization came to me today. I'm worried that I'm a bit of a rotten, spoiled kid who, on the inside, wants nothing other than success, closure, and things that I want to be given to me. I don't want to be that person. What has happened to me?


Autumn flew by like the wind. I couldn't find reasons to be stressed, but there I was, wanting to go to sleep as early as possible to end the day. I needed something to pull me back up on my feet. The feet I walked with to go to my friends every day, to be comforted in a classroom, and to share my feelings. I hadn't talked to anyone in a month back then. Something needed to wake me up. I wasn't myself.


October 28, 2020. A Journal Entry.

Today was hard. However, I do feel in a way that I found myself. I'm sure of myself for once. I want to try to achieve something big. Not for anyone else or to prove anything—just for myself to say I tried.

I'm going to apply for the art high school I dreamed of going to in the sixth grade.

It's a complex, selective process, and I really need to do my best work. I need to show every side of me to the best of my ability. I know this feels impossible, but I feel like this is what I need to do. This leap is a step I need to take. I can just feel it.


And there it was. The push that got me back to myself. I wasn't the kind of person to constantly worry about how stupid or useless I was. I didn't have time for that when I was back in school. What I needed was to embark on a journey of work that wouldn't give me time to worry about how I wasn’t who I was supposed to be.

By the end of 2020, my hopes were pushing me forward. I got to know my sweet English teacher and a new art teacher who understood me. Although I felt alone most of the time, receiving emails and talking over FaceTime with friends was the only thing that got me pumped to start another day of 9 AM distance learning.

Distance learning was like a teacher to me. A tough one. It taught me to be strong on my own, and that it takes time to pull out of a slump. It didn't matter how many months I needed to get better. In the end, I knew that I couldn't get through a year online without the efforts of my sixth-grade self, eager to start a brand new school year.

March 19, 2021. A Journal Entry.

I'm still a mess. And that's okay. I'm a happy mess, and I've found myself. Middle school is coming to an end, and I feel the finish line is near. I've had my time with this challenge, and I'm sure that every student feels a little proud that they've gotten through this. It was hard.

I'll definitely be different when I get back to school. I've lost some of my social skills that weren't great to begin with...but oh well! I'll get them back. I just need to finish these last months first. I'm almost there.



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