By Kaci Meyer  Moonshine Ink

Kaci Meyer | Photo by Joy Strotz

When this pandemic started, I received some sad news that the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association decided to postpone all spring sports until further notice. This was just after the first swim meet of my senior year. My heart sank. I was looking forward to competing and my goal for senior year was to swim in every 500-meter freestyle race.

I was left wondering, Wow, is it all over? Will I miss out on the experience of my last swim season as a senior before I drift away to college?     

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This was just the beginning of a lot of disappointment. I remember the last day I was physically in school this year. I heard my teachers talking about the possibility of our school closing for two weeks due to the new coronavirus. In my head I thought, Man, this is going to be great! No school, getting to sleep in, and binge-watching Disney Plus. My exuberance soon changed, however, as my school, Incline Village High School, began distance learning the following week.

Sure. It is just for a few weeks, this will be fine, I told myself.

I thought I was going to return to school just a couple of weeks later, but before that time came, we received a call informing us that Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak decided to have all schools return starting May 1. Again, I tried to stay positive and assured myself it would all be okay. I simply had to wait another three weeks until I could go back to school.

Suddenly, I often found myself sitting around the house in disbelief, loneliness, and not knowing what to do — even though I did have plenty of things to do.   

This school year has been the best, getting to know my peers better and interacting with them. I also got to know some of the newer staff members. School was my social outlet for the past four years, and it is difficult not to be able to see people.

Once distance learning started, my mom took the initiative of clearing a study space so I could do my schoolwork. Since then, I have found myself to be more productive, but with doubtful thoughts in my mind. I continually ask my parents for reassurance regarding graduation, as not being able to walk across the stage and get my diploma is one of my fears.

CONGRADULATIONS: With coronavirus mandates keeping schools closed throughout the remainder of the school year, families of students around the country are finding creative ways to celebrate their graduates who won’t be walking down the aisle to be presented with their diplomas. Courtesy photo

Then we got the call that school was closed for the rest of the year; distance learning would continue. Of course, I did not take this very well. Tears were shed. I saw many seniors post on their Snapchats saying, “RIP class of 2020, now we get our diplomas online.” This really upset me. I jumped to the conclusion that we will not be having a graduation. I also did not want to miss out on other milestones like attending my senior prom, getting dressed up and going out with my friends. But this virus just had to get in the way. Graduation is something I have looked forward to, as it marks one of my most significant accomplishments in life. I wanted to say goodbye to all my peers and teachers, and to thank them for an incredible four years.

My mother once told me, “You should live for today so you can enjoy tomorrow.” This quarantine has taught me something: Sometimes, when things are canceled, I should not dwell on those events as there is likely a more prominent future waiting for me. I look forward to going to college and learning how to become a teacher. I will remain positive, as I do have a lot to look forward to and, who knows, maybe we will get our graduation!

I know I am not the only one who has been feeling down since the closure of our school, as many of my peers have reached out to me sharing similar feelings.

IN THE MIX: Incline Village High School senior Kaci Meyer and her friends are using FaceTime to cook together but apart during the stay-at-home mandate. Courtesy photo

How do I manage to keep myself busy and quiet my mind through this difficult time? Well, I’ve taken to heart what my mom said. I am starting to learn how to cook. Each weekend I get together through FaceTime with my friends, and we cook a meal together in the slow cooker, which takes all day. Through this experience, I often find myself living in the moment, enjoying time with those I love. Following a daily routine is what helps keep my mind off the negative.

When my friends seem down, I tell them to go find something they enjoy doing as it helps keep their minds busy. I also encourage them to keep thinking positively that great things will happen. Through the words my mom shared, I have found my own voice to share with my peers. I encourage everyone to find their own voice, to build their own path to get through this tough time.