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Change view; make most of ‘coronatime’

By Mckenzie Leininger tx. Correspondent - | Apr 12, 2020
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Halle Anderson, a second-grader at Syracuse Elementary School, and Max Anderson, a kindergartener at Syracuse Elementary, create chalk art in their Syracuse neighborhood.

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Ty Johnson, a sixth-grader at Syracuse Elementary School, plays with his neighbor's dog Tasi (pronounced toss-ee) in his Syracuse neighborhood.

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Elliot Johnson (left), a fourth-grader at Syracuse Elementary School, and her brother Cameron, a sixth-grader at the same school, play basketball in their Syracuse neighborhood.

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Ty Johnson, a sixth-grader at Syracuse Elementary School, jumps on a trampoline in his Syracuse neighborhood.

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TX. Pandemic 5

It was Friday the 13th when every school in Utah got canceled. Funny, huh?

I guess it really is an unlucky day. It was the same day I realized there are three coronas that can kill you: the virus, the sun and the beer. Coincidence? I think not.

Friday the 13th of March was also one of my favorite days of 2020 so far. It was a short day, I had easy classes, I bought some succulents from the school greenhouse — and I found out that I didn’t have to go to school for at least three weeks! It sounded perfect.

It seems a little less perfect now.

At the beginning of the year, during an event we call Senior Sunrise, every senior at Bonneville High School wrote a letter to our future selves, to be opened upon graduating at an event called Senior Sunset. We ate doughnuts, drank chocolate milk, laughed with friends and almost froze to death on the metal bleachers.

I laugh when I think about that letter to myself, probably never to be opened. Will it sit in some unused box, until someone 20 years from now finds it? More likely, it’ll just get thrown away. Because at this point … you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who expects to get back to school in time for May 14, the last day we seniors should’ve spent in school. Instead, we got out over two months early.

A few weeks ago, I thought that sounded like the best thing to ever happen to me. I’ve since repented of that view. As a voluntary social media abstainer, I am even more isolated than most. The best I can do for peer interaction is a couple of texts a day or so. Which would be fine, except for I’m also severely restricted in the things I can do, like we all are.

Healthy cooking

So. Enough with the sob story. Maybe that’s what you were expecting this to be, but I’m not a fan of wallowing in misery.

The actual point of this article, rather than going on a self-pitying, meandering, probably totally boring recount of my experience with corona, is to suggest ways for all of us to feel a little less depressed.

First off are the basics. Everyone and their dog has been posting about how we all need to eat healthy (although we’re also supposed to eat takeout three times a week — not sure how that works out, personally). But here’s my suggested twist to that advice. Don’t just eat healthy food — make healthy food!

I love to cook, and it’s honestly been a blast to have so much time to bake fancy meals. I made seafoam (a hard caramel candy covered in chocolate) for the first time, and it was delicious. Focaccia, aborrajados, Brazilian cheese puffs, and maybe some kind of pie are all up next. And I am fully aware that none of those things are healthy, but I just think they’re fun to make.

For healthy options, you could try your hand at whole-wheat bagels or bread, artichoke lasagna and various soups (French onion is a favorite).

As an upcoming college-goer I’ve been feeling woefully unprepared for surviving on my own. Coronavirus has given me the perfect opportunity to get ready. I’ve spent extensive time researching housing options and college courses. I ordered decor for my dorm room and made a list of all the things I’ll need to bring. I plan to organize all my plates and silverware and cooking ware, and buy the proper sheets and pillows and bed covers.

Stay connected

I’ve started applying for various scholarships (I know, I’m a little late) and even stalked my future roommates (hopefully they’re not reading this). My mom has been teaching me how to cook dinner and other meals, since I’m a pro at breakfast and dessert and nothing else, and somehow that doesn’t bode well for a nutritious dining experience next year.

Using this break from school to develop useful skills, known to us teens as adulting, is a great use of what I like to call coronatime.

As a caveat to my previous statement, I know this isn’t really a break from school, since we have homework and conference calls and such. I know I’ve spent several hours a day staring at a screen, which gives me all sorts of awesome headaches and triggers the classic angry, sullen teenager moods. This brings me to another basic use of coronatime oft praised on the interwebs: getting out and about.

Hiking, walking, fishing — all are extremely beneficial. Activity releases endorphins, making you feel better biologically, and then mentally and emotionally you feel better simply because being outside feels great and makes you feel good about yourself.

Here’s a pro tip; if you go high enough into the mountains, there’s still snow. Who doesn’t want to skip their Zoom calls and have a snowball fight instead? Of course, I’ve obviously never done anything like that. It’s just … a suggestion.

The last tip is staying connected. FaceTime your friends. Don’t just text them or send a Snap. Honestly. I know actual conversation sounds hard and scary, and it is. But it’s worth it. Start a Netflix Party, initiate a GamePigeon game, start an argument on Reddit, even do a drive-by hangout, where you drive by your friend’s house and wave sadly as they stare at you from six feet away encased in a hazmat suit their mom made them wear.

All options are on the table. Just make sure you choose one of them, because staying connected is vitally important.

Corona is the worst. No doubt about it. But that doesn’t mean it can’t get less worse, or maybe even a little better. These tips are ones that work for me, but there are hundreds more out there. Just search Pinterest.

We can’t change what’s happening, but we can change what we do about it. And that’s the key to making it through this.

McKenzie Leininger is a senior at Bonneville High School. She loves engineering, dogs and skiing. Email her at fiorgaoth@gmail.com.


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