Hello from Providence, RI where I’m quarantining with my husband (an infectious diseases doctor on the front line of this COVID crisis) and my three daughters: a college sophomore, a high school senior and an eighth grader. My perspective is unique but honestly, isn’t that the way we ALL feel?
First, the picture. My colleague Amy introduced you to her family through candid shots chronicling their “quarantivities.” OH HELL NO. I have three teenage daughters. Here is a pre-approved picture from a happier time:
Meet Isabelle. She is a 20 year old sophomore at Brown University who is double majoring in public policy and public health. She is analyzing this situation, using every tool in her toolbox, and coming up empty most of the time–just like our experts. She is also mourning the loss of her spring semester which included a spring break trip to Baha Mar, her club lacrosse season, Brown Spring weekend, graduation, and time with her friends. In short, her world has come to an end. But as the firstborn always does, she is making the best of it. She has decided to train for a half marathon and spends her evenings on the House Party app with her friends. But most of the time, she’s grumpy (and bossy, her sisters say).
Isabelle’s classes start next week with a bang. She kicks off with a test in her Math for Econ class and a paper due for Public Opinion and American Democracy. Brown is using the Zoom platform but most of her work will be independent. She frets that her fall semester program in DC will be cancelled. And when she’s not fretting about that, she’s not even sure she wants to go because she is already missing this time with her friends.
Next up, Lila. She is a senior at Proctor Academy, a boarding school in New Hampshire. My heart hurts for Lila. She was supposed to be on a 10 week exploration through the American West this semester, her final in high school. So she is not mourning the loss of her spring semester on campus, which is a good thing. She had already made her peace with that. But she IS missing an experience of a lifetime. And then likely prom, graduation, etc. My colleague Bill shared a link to a sweatshirt I can buy for her with the graduating year of 2019.75. Ain’t it the truth.
Starting Monday, Lila will be online A LOT as Proctor Academy will be using Webex and all of her classes will be meeting. She is also required to engage in an afternoon activity in place of a sport. She could train for a half marathon with her sister (not happening), do virtual yoga (also not happening) or come up with her own fitness plan (read: Mom will need to come up with a fitness plan for Lila.)
Lila has ADHD, coupled with other minor learning differences, which will make online learning a challenge. But for now, she is looking forward to doing something other than walking the dog and cleaning closets.
Last, but certainly not least, meet Posey. She’s an active and social eighth grader who has a sunny outlook on life and plenty of hobbies. She is also a self-starter and engaged learner. Sounds great, right? She desperately craves time with her friends. She aches for her busy lacrosse club(s) schedule. She learns best through interacting with her teachers and peers. And this is the end of the line for her too. She is a de facto senior at her sweet, child-centered, independent N-8 school. She is struggling to decide which boarding school she is going to attend next year, without a chance to revisit. And making decisions for Posey isn’t easy.
Since we have been self-isolating (and because of my husband’s job, we’ve been at it longer than the rest of you), Posey has descended the stairs several times late in the evening worrying that she is experiencing a burst appendix and/or a heart attack. Luckily, her father is a doctor as I would have rushed her to the ER on all four occasions. That, my friends, is how stress manifests itself in a 14 year old.
She will be starting classes online on Wednesday and they seem to have a plan but I’m hoping there is enough time for social interaction and student-teacher engagement. Fingers crossed.
Next week, I’ll update you on how online schooling is going for my college student, high school student and middle schooler….and how we celebrated my husband’s 50