by Riley Martin
Graphic by Sara Valbuena
For many of the students at Las Lomas, quarantine has been a time of self-reflection because many simply haven’t been able to live their normal lives. This self-reflection was necessary to be able to find contentment, and hopefully happiness, throughout the stress and craziness of COVID-19 and distance learning.
Trenton Srichankij, a sophomore at Las Lomas, has been fortunate to have this reflection early enough in quarantine to thrive in this newly organized online school environment. Srichankij has accomplished this in many ways, “To stay happy over quarantine, I’ve mostly been FaceTiming friends and playing video games. When I feel overwhelmed with school and want to do an activity that isn’t online or tech-based, I love to sit outside in the grass and read.” Srichankij shares a mutually encompassing relationship with nature that online school seems to inhibit a bit. To make up for that lost time outside right after school, he said, “I usually go outside and stretch and drink some water; I’ve found that small breaks like this keep me energetic and happy throughout the day, which also helps me relax and actually enjoy my school days.”
However, acknowledging that happiness isn’t a guaranteed feeling in quarantine, many students are not alone in this relatable feeling of boredom. Srichankij experienced this especially in the beginning of quarantine, and said, “The loss of being able to easily see my friends was initially really hard for me to get used to. I felt alone and exhausted everyday from having very little physical interaction with the people I care about.”
Mya Rafferty, a junior at Las Lomas, has found herself to be incredibly productive in bettering her future. She said, “I’ve looked toward my future such as college, career choices and saving money to create the future I want to achieve.” For Rafferty, quarantine was necessary for her to find happiness and develop a relationship with herself. She said, “To help my happiness, I have created and improved my style and self-image. I also tried to keep my mind open and take time for myself and work on my physical, mental and emotional state to learn about myself.” She was able to properly lay a foundation that would help to produce happiness for herself, and inspire it for others as well. This newfound self made her develop who she thought she was, “I started working on keeping contact and reconnecting with the people I miss and feel like my most comfortable self with.”
Eliza Loventhal, a junior at Las Lomas, has found small changes that have effectively made a difference in her happiness during quarantine. She said, “Quarantine has taught me a lot about how I can make myself happy in new ways. Sometimes it’s as easy as just being in the same room as my family members, rather than being in my bedroom alone all day. Sometimes it means making plans way far in advance, even if it’s something small like going to lunch, to give myself something to look forward to.” These small changes are the ones that make all the difference in current times. Even though it seems difficult for many at this time, something Loventhal has found to make a difference in her happiness is gratitude. “Quarantine has its effects on everyone, and I’m sure it’s been hard for everyone of us at one point or another, but I try to be thankful for the skills it has taught me and the time it has given me to focus on bettering myself.” Gratitude in these times can definitely be hard to come by, no question about that, but it truly allows a person to subject themselves to less negativity. Acknowledging the things you are grateful for puts you in a reality in which you are open to new things and experiences, which is a trait during quarantine that is extremely beneficial to have.
Carly Evans, a senior at Las Lomas, has stumbled upon activities that almost act as therapy for her and calm her down. Throughout quarantine, she said, “I’ve recently got back into drawing and painting, which has been nice since I haven’t done it in a while. I’ve rewatched all of the Harry Potter series, which really brought me back to a part of my childhood.” Something that plays a large role in Evans’ happiness is her license and her car. Without these, she wouldn’t be able to “just go on drives in my car. It helps me clear my head, and with good music, it becomes really fun.” Luckily, with these activities and binging various TV shows, she doesn’t have too much of a problem with boredom.
Although for some students, they need more than just their own company to feel happy. A poll taken by The Page regarding maintaining happiness in quarantine suggested that 39.4% believe it is difficult to remain happy, and another staggering number of 47% said that it was fairly difficult. Loventhal said, “Quarantine and happiness don’t really feel like words that should go together.” This seems to be the unfortunate case for the large majority. That leaves a remainder of the fortunate 13.6% who have not found difficulty.
Happiness in quarantine has proven to be challenging for many, but there is something comforting about not being alone through all of it. There is something resourceful and beautiful about creating happiness through oneself.