My name is Maddie Dodds and Zoe is my Mum.
For those of you that don’t know me, or haven’t heard my Mum share stories (or a few terrors) about me in her Bootcamp classes, coaching business or somewhere beyond, I am currently a junior at Mercer Island High School, Washington, USA and my Mum asked me to talk about my perspective about life with the Coronavirus as a teenager in the US.
When I first heard about the school cancellation for 2 weeks, I felt a sense of euphoria; what could be wrong with a two-week break to hang out with friends and no schoolwork? However, my feelings took a sudden downturn when I heard we could be away from school for 6 weeks.
If you haven’t met me before (and for those of you that have), I thrive off of conversation and interaction with people of all ages. I gain great joy and happiness from seeing friends, peers, and faculty at school (barring the days I arrive late, which happens often).
All my friends and I were now in the same school of thought, what are we supposed to do for the next 6 weeks?
Would our parents put a structure in place?
How are we going to manage our ACT/SAT and AP test without the valuable material we learn in the classroom every day? We have currently been on break or quarantine for around 2 weeks, I honestly don’t know how to feel. I find each day feels longer than when I was in school.
There have been pros and cons, the pros include: more family time, an easier wakeup schedule, free time, and finally a break from the rigorous homework and academic schedule that is involved for the majority of MIHS students. However, there are cons, they include: Missing friends and peers/ the classroom environment, the impending fear of falling behind academically, how our college applications deadlines and ACT testing dates will change.
The majority of my close friends play a spring sport, ranging from tennis to lacrosse, and for some (seniors specifically) they are losing the final season of the sport they’ve played their whole life, where they found their closest friends, made their fondest memories and learned very valuable lessons.
For my friends who don’t play sports (again seniors specifically), they are losing some of the memories and experiences they have been looking forward to since they were children, i.e. traditional graduation, prom, or senior celebration trip.
As a student at Mercer Island High School, I know I will miss the camaraderie and spirit involved with gathering in Islander stadium for the first home lacrosse game or seeing all the graduating students on college sweatshirt day.
There have been significant changes and losses for the majority of people. My sweet Mum, for example, went from having her own days with her own creative space to work. Now, every time she gets to work a member of our family walks into her office to ask “What’s for dinner?” “do you like this outfit?” “How do I do this?”.
For my Dad, a man who enjoys the quiet of his own private workspace and the peace of separating home life from work life, he is now facing the same problems. He works in the converted guest room using an old table, oftentimes interrupted by the yells of teenagers or the blaring Love Island season 6 playing on my computer.
For all the parents out there: I know you may be feeling frustrated at the disruption of your beloved and consistent working routines, however, your children probably don’t like this anymore then you do (they aren’t used to going on family dog walks twice a day).
After reading this letter aloud to my Father, he told me “you should add in a part about how parents should help their students cope with this whole thing, for me that’s a central anchor, telling their students they need to remain focused and keep their academics in check”. I responded with the statement “That’s a complete parents’ perspective. What you need to understand is that we don’t want our ACT tests to be canceled because we’ve worked hard too, we don’t want to not have AP tests, we’ve written countless in-class essays and prepared for months”.
My advice to parents out there is to check in with your kids, not applying academic pressure (for some to an extent they wouldn’t even experience in the classroom), ask your children how they’re doing and help them make a plan or schedule for the day.
I have been babysitting two little girls (aged 6 and 3) every week for a year and a half now. For the 6-year-old, I remember her excitement after the first week of kindergarten (specifically the bus), however, today I asked her how she felt about not going to school and her response was quick and quite truly heartwarming “I feel happy because I miss my mommy when I’m at school”. The younger of the two girls (age 3- attends preschool) nodded her head in agreement.
Throughout the school year, I often take my family (parents especially) for granted, hearing the response of a young child who isn’t consumed in technology, social media, and the chronicles of being a teenager helped me to gain perspective on the silver lining in all of this. In summary, I shared my two sense on the whole situation as per my Mum’s request, I’m wishing health and happiness to all the people reading this!
About Zoë Dodds
Life, Health, and Fitness Coach
Zoë has a passion for helping and empowering women to the best version of themselves.
With 20 years’ experience in the health and fitness industry, she delivers inspiration and wealth of knowledge to her clients, some of which she shares in her blog and weekly newsletters.
Originally from England, Zoë has lived in Seattle for 9 years with her husband, two grown-up children and a Labrador called Jordi.
Click here to read more.