By Violet Webster
Two months ago, most of my school days consisted of the same routine. Wake up at 6:30, drink coffee, make the forty-five-minute drive from my house in Chardon to Shaker Heights where I would start my day working at Prime Before School Club. I would then run from the Prime music room to Morning Meeting or Mentor group and from there start my classes as usual. After school I would race from my last period class to some rehearsal or meeting and then get back in my car to take another forty-five-minute drive home. The most exciting deviation from routine I had was the occasional orthodontist appointment or intermittent car trouble from my ancient Volkswagen. It was boring and predictable, but it was what I knew and what I was comfortable with.
I’ve always been someone who relies on a plan. The kind of person who keeps a color-coded copy of her schedule on her desktop every day and has a total of three calendars in her room. I’ve always needed to know what came next, what to expect from any given situation. On a good day, I was prepared, on a bad day I was rigid and inflexible. When we left school in March, I never expected a global pandemic to take one look at all of my detailed plans and throw them out the window. But here we are.
We are in a new normal. Every day the situation around us changes, making it impossible to plan anything farther than one day at a time. At the beginning of quarantine, this was the cause for more than one minor meltdown. Nothing felt real, nothing was permanent. With the introduction of online classes, my panic increased. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know how to deal with that. My workload rapidly increased and decreased on a daily basis, schedules shifted, long term projects disintegrated.
In the beginning of April, this was terrifying. I didn’t know how to cope now that my usual coping mechanisms were useless. But as the month went on, I figured out how to ground myself in the few things that remained constant and let the fear I felt from all of the constant change go. I grounded myself in my morning cup of coffee. I found solace in the nightly video chats with my friends. I settled into a routine that wasn’t really a routine and tried to be okay with being not okay. Nothing is normal anymore. But I think I’m becoming okay with that.