By Abby Zutz
Never would I ever have thought that I would be wearing a mask while at school. I recall being in about second grade standing in the lunch line and imagining what it would be like when I was finally in high school. Here I am, a freshman, and things are tremendously different than I would have ever imagined.
Ninth grade, the year where you get into new clubs, you’re in the high school choir, high school band, etc. This is the year where things start to matter, and you’re creating a life for yourself outside of school, and getting things ready for the next chapter. Braces are coming off, so now you have white shiny STRAIGHT teeth, and you can’t wait to show them off, oh wait… You can’t because your smile is hidden by the piece of cloth that is covering your face to protect you. I feel like I am hiding behind a mask, I can’t show my smile, I can’t make crazy faces at my classmates but, if there is one thing that I miss, it would be seeing people smile throughout the day.
I walked in the first day of choir, and I had literally counted down the days until I was in the high school choir. I was shocked, because the once loud, perfect tone, all in unison, choir was muted by a mask. Our school worked with that because it was devastating not being able to hear each other. Our amazing choir teacher makes things happen, and after the first week, we moved into the church next door, and oh what a difference it makes. Yes, we are still muted by masks, but we’re making it work.
The time after your morning classes, when you rush to the lunchline so you can chat with all your friends around the lunch table, is gone. Instead you were to report to your classroom and you were dismissed to get lunch, but then return to the classroom. You can only chat with a third of your classmates because we were all separated.
Volleyball has always been my favorite sport, something that I have worked at since elementary school. Practicing sucks, I just want to play! I always keep a mindset like “go Abby, you got this! On Tuesday you’ll show everyone how its done.” Practicing has been super hard considering we have games that only your parents watch. No student section. No concessions. No begging your parents to stay to watch the varsity play. No theme nights. Nothing.
As we sit in our classes while attending from home, and we hear the glitchy teacher talking, I go off in a daze, just thinking about what this year could have been.
Things are different, things are weird and I am trying my best to get used to it, but I can’t wait until the day I can eat lunch in the cafeteria with my friends and other classmates, when I can sing in the choir without getting muted by the cloth mask that we need to wear for everyone’s safety, when I can play volleyball in front of so many fans, When I can forget about distance learning, and when I can go to school without a mask on, and no, not the mask that you put on over yourself when you are insecure and feel that you need to hide from the world, but an actual mask. A cloth navy polka dotted mask that I needed to purchase from Old Navy to stay safe, and yes, I am slowly adapting to this as my new normal.
Abby Zutz is a student at Fillmore Central High School. She is one of nine area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 22nd year.