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Diary of a Quarantined Student: Dakota | Tallo

Diary of a Quarantined Student: Dakota

As COVID-19 continues to spread, high schools and colleges around the world are closing, and students are staying home. Quarantining can feel isolating, but stories like these have the power to change that.    

Today’s blog is from Dakota Layfield, a high school junior in Mississippi. 

Hi, I am Dakota, and I am in quarantine. I am 17 years old and a Junior at St.Martin High School in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Even before the pandemic started, Junior year was a little rough. It takes a lot of work getting prepared for college, researching different schools, studying for the ACT and SAT, and more. Of course I also had things to look forward to, like Junior prom, but since the COVID-19 outbreak occurred that experience, along with many others, has disappeared.

March 14th was the last day I went to school, and I assumed it would be totally normal. I was clueless about how rough the wave of COVID-19 was because I was just looking forward to seeing my friends the following week. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Right now, everything is strange; I’ve never stayed home this much in my life. I used to always be out and about, socializing with family and friends and participating in extracurricular activities. COVID-19 has shifted my life from a chaotic schedule to boredom.

On top of the boredom, my routine is so unorganized — I often mix up the days of the week! My school has switched to online classes, but this has brought up challenges for students who don’t have computers or good internet access. Because my principal is so generous and kind, she’s allowing students to borrow Chromebooks if they need one at home. Another positive change is that the classes I am taking are not handing out many assignments, and my teachers are allowing me to complete them whenever I can. Of course, I cannot take forever to turn in assignments, but the time I am allowed is more lenient than when we were at school.

Other than my school life, I’ve found some new things to keep me occupied. I like to spend my time reading, exercising, cleaning, walking my dogs around my neighborhood, doing arts and crafts, and video chatting with my friends and family. In the past few weeks, I have been helping my new neighbors with their yard and learning new recipes to cook. Recently, I donated blood through the American Red Cross and donated money to Feeding America because I wanted to feel a sense of accomplishment during the quarantine. I also collect receipts for a school fundraiser through an app called Shoparoo. Every Monday, I have a check in with my classmates to see how they’re doing and how they’re staying busy. My church has also switched to online services and Zoom meetings to keep us updated as a community.

During this tough time, I have been increasing my vocabulary by reading, and I am practicing my Spanish. Learning Spanish can be difficult, but I am improving. Despite all of these changes and challenges, I am grateful that my family and friends are healthy. I miss my old life, but I will continue praying for the best and for everyone to come back together again.

Interested in writing your own Diary of a Quarantined Student blog? Send an email to jjohnson@tallo.com. And don’t miss our past blog posts from other students here!