Pandemic brings strife and growth

Ally Little and Demi Quach, Reporters

Since March 16, the coronavirus has been affecting Arlington. Starting with a delay being put on the return to school, then businesses being shut down, to the eventual quarantine of all citizens. Being in quarantine isn’t easy. You can’t go out, you can’t see your family or friends, and you can’t go back to your normal lives until it’s all over. 

So how does that affect the students and staff of Martin? During quarantine, many students had their ups and downs. Some students kept themselves busy and bettered themselves during the quarantine. Others didn’t know what to do with their emotions and found ways to resolve those feelings through various different methods.

Sophomore Chase Collins said she found herself on a path of discovery during her quarantine. 

“It’s like quarantine showed me a little light,” Collins said. 

She also managed to find her passion in this time of turmoil. 

“I got a film acting coach and started Zoom acting classes to start my acting career,” she said. “I’m super excited about that.”

None of this was done without trouble, of course. 

“It’s been super hard mentally for the past few months,” Collins said. “I would tell myself to be okay and that it was going to be okay.” 

By the end of quarantine we all came out different people and Collins said she believed she did too.

“I’ve changed in a good way too,” she said. “I’m nicer now, I’m optimistic, I’m more creative, I have a big heart, and I know more about the world and politics. I’m a good person. I will continue to keep these changes. I will advocate for people that don’t have the privileges that I have, and I will continue to be a great person. Everyone deserves love.” 

Although there is not much we can do to prepare for another time like this, everyone would like to think they have a plan.

“I would just prepare myself mentally,” she said.  

Senior Rian MacBride had a quarantine experience that I’m sure many of us can sympathize with.

“Overall it was quite dreary and boring, but could have been worse,” he said. 

Even though some things are back to normal, we are all struggling with our present conditions. 

“Now whenever I go out and do stuff with friends there is always this fear like, ‘Okay, am I going to get it? Am I safe?’ And it’s a little stressful and nerve-wracking at times,” MacBride said. 

Because we are blessed with the modern-day technology we are, there are many ways to contact each other.

“Having the ability to talk to my friends and play games with them online made it much easier to handle,” Mcbride said.    

Some things in quarantine definitely hit harder than others. 

“What made it worse was just the isolation,” he said. “Not being able to see anyone or do anything outside of my house is really a soul crusher sometimes. And the lack of physical contact. Not seeing people face to face is depressing.” 

MacBride definitely has a valuable strategy for quarantine prep, possibly even just life prep.

“I would definitely get a better internet,” he said.


Junior Jacob Schultz said he had to make many adaptations for quarantine. With his extracurricular activities, tennis, and choir being taken away due to the pandemic, he had to find new ways to occupy his time.

“I would wake up around 7 a.m., make breakfast then go on a run,” he said. “Then I would watch TV or read. Then after lunch I would workout. The rest of the day I would swim, play video games, watch TV and spend time with my family.” 

Schultz said he managed to find the positive outcomes to quarantine. 

“Over quarantine I spent my time doing things to better myself such as working out, eating healthy, reading, etc,” he said. “I feel much more focused now.” 

Schultz was definitely not immune to the negative effects of quarantine, though.

“The part of quarantine that affected me the most would be not getting to see my friends,” he said. “Although it was nice to have a lot more time to myself, I found that I really enjoy spending time with others.” 

Schultz also said he has a solid plan for if this were to ever happen again. 

“I would definitely make sure to develop a routine,” he said. “I think without one I wouldn’t have survived quarantine.”


Assistant principal Amanda Cobb managed to make the best out of her quarantine.

“I was able to prioritize my work and family life balance more than I would have been able to in the building,” she said. 

Cobb’s family is high risk for health complications , so being quarantined was extremely important. 

“I have a medically fragile son who is oxygen and treatment dependent, so being able to shelter him from the risk of contracting Covid was really important to me,” she said.

Cobb said there were definitely some things to be learned from this whole experience.

“It definitely taught me that I can balance my work and home life and prioritize my family and my own well being more than what I was allowing before,” she said. 

Even though the majority of us thought this nightmare of quarantine was over, that is not the case for everybody.

“I haven’t changed my quarantine status as of yet. We are still just as strict as we were back in March, April, May, June, and July,” Cobb said.

Through it all though Cobb still managed to help her students as much as possible.

“My best days were being able to get out, start working, and helping families and students get through the challenge of quarantine,” Cobb said. 

She even managed to make advancements on the personal improvement front.

“I got into a workout routine, and I was able to do that, take care of my family, have family time and dinner, all before 6 o’clock,” Cobb said.


Junior Kirstyn Dickey had some special circumstances that forced her to make her quarantine a productive one. 

“Before quarantine had started I had had a very major surgery on my knee that would take 9 1/2 months to recover back to dancing the way I was before I injured myself,” she said. “Even then, after not being able to walk by myself for almost six months, you lose a lot of technical sides of dancing to where it doesn’t feel as natural.”

Dickey said she did not only have to deal with physical setbacks either.

“Before quarantine, I already had a lot of mental health issues,” she said. “I deal with both anxiety as well as depression. So, as you can guess, quarantine didn’t exactly help these things in my life. I am starting to take care of myself a lot more, both physically and mentally. Now, I can look back on quarantine and think to myself, ‘Okay, here is what NOT to do now.’”


Junior Kristi Truong said she kept herself busy during the spring. 

“During quarantine, I was able to get enrolled in beauty school, I managed to join community clubs, two jobs, and hustling with SAT prep,” Truong said. 

While in quarantine, Truong said she often felt that her friendships weren’t strong enough to stay in the midst of a pandemic. 

“I’ve lost touch with the majority of my friends, and I don’t blame them because I knew that they were going through the same internal issues like myself,” Truong said. “I felt the lowest when I started questioning myself if all the friendships/relationships I’ve built were not strong enough to withhold during a pandemic.” 

However, after finding things to keep her mind occupied, Truong said she was able to quickly get back on her feet again. 

“Although I complain about my tight schedule, at the end I’m thankful for it because it’s just all a learning experience for me to grow as a human.”

Truong’s grandmother also was there to help her throughout her journey in quarantine by providing her with love and comfort. 

“My grandma came in the middle of quarantine so she definitely played a huge part in my emotion and fulfilled the department of affection in which I was lacking due to no human interaction,” Truong said. “Overall, the comfort of my grandma made me the safest.” 

Junior Makayla Hsieh kept herself occupied during quarantine by joining online organizations and even enrolling in a course taught by the University of Pennsylvania. 

“I started being productive by joining online student startup organizations and competitions, and also starting a Coursera course,” she said. 

Hsieh also had some achievements while in quarantine. 

“I got into the finals of a business start-up competition,” Hsieh said. “It’s a competition made by high school girls; I made an educational product called “Betwixt” that allows language learners to practice speaking with native speakers around the world.”

However, that happiness doesn’t come without having some sort of trouble. Hsieh said she was stuck on what to do during the quarantine. 

“It had its ups and downs,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do at first, like at all, but I don’t know if something triggered me. Once there are things to do, I feel motivated to do more. Prior to quarantine, I was so busy worrying about other people and things, but quarantine gave me time to chill and relax, to focus more on my personal growth.” 


In the midst of a pandemic, junior Jaden Holder said she had mixed feelings about the quarantine.  

“It had its highs and lows. but for me personally it wasn’t good, but it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been,” she said.

However, Holder said her time in quarantine got better as she spent more time with her family and by herself. 

“It brought me closer to my family and learned a lot of personal lessons. It also kind of helped me grow up in a way.” 

Holder said she also got more time for some of her hobbies during the quarantine. 

“I got to read and work out more which were two things that I’ve always loved but never had time for,” she said.

She also mentioned that she was the happiest when she saw her parents’ facial expressions after she surprised them by taking them to a nice dinner. 

“It was a way of saying thank you for everything they had done over quarantine,” Holder said. “My dad got a job again and my mom’s business survived.”  

Sophomore Maymee Witcher also was perplexed during the quarantine. 

“My quarantine was very boring of course, but I learned a lot about myself and friends,” she said. “It positively impacted my experience by me becoming closer to my family and friends at my work because those were the only places I was going.” 

Witcher said her quarantine was both good and bad for her as she was more cautious and sensitive due to the pandemic.  

“I was as mindful of how dirty something could be,” she said. “Like going to the store and touching clothes and food, and thinking about how many other people touched it too. I wasn’t with my friends and I wasn’t laughing, and when people wouldn’t respond, I thought they were being fake and I was always second-guessing them.”

Witcher said she often felt that the pandemic and the quarantine would never end and life wouldn’t go back to normal. However, she found ways to battle those feelings and picked up on new hobbies. 

“Finding a creative outlet is very helpful like I’ve been baking a lot and giving my friends some of the treats,” she said. 


Senior Tallya Nguyen said she had some tough times in quarantine. 

“I found out my extended family and friends were going through something and I couldn’t help or comfort them,” Nguyen said. “It was a lot of guilt weighing down on me. It felt like I was just living on happily completely oblivious that their lives had actually been affected pretty hard. It’s different when someone comes to you with their worries and all they ask for is presence but you can’t even see them in person to offer a hug. It hurt a lot.” 

She said she often battled these feelings by taking time for herself, not using distractions or making excuses for herself.  

“I just let it vent out, to be honest,” she said. “They mostly came to me when I was alone at night, so I just cried an incy wincy bit, then prayed and put on bad boss music and slept. I processed them. Didn’t use distractions. Distracting and suppressing them won’t do any good in the long run, but if I was in public it works.” 

After dealing with some not so good feelings, Nguyen said she viewed her quarantine as satisfactory, rather than unpleasant. 

“Overall it was good,” she said. “Not everything went the way you wanted it to, but you gotta take a breather from everything. It’s a chance to take a step back to see how things are going for you and around you.”