We Can't Go Back to Hometown Tomorrow

Submitted by Anny from Changing High School in Hubei Province in China.



On the evening of January 22th, my dad announced to me.


As usual, we planned to get back to my hometown, Shandong, to enjoy the Spring Festival with family, one of the most traditional festivals in China. We had already planned to drive back on January 23th, but my father, as a doctor, predicted that the spreading of COVID-19 would be stronger and stronger. He said that if we got back, we probably wouldn’t turn back to Beijing anymore. What he said was proved the next day: Wuhan, the area where the epidemic situation was worst, locked down. I must admit that I never imagined that the COVID-19 was that kind of strong at that time. I just finished my packing but all were in vain. I was quite depressed since I could only meet my cousins once a year at this time. Nothing I can do to avert it.


The next, my extracurricular courses announced that the virtual course would replace the original course. All I could say was “all right”. My online course started on January 25th and lasted for more than 5 months. Before I started virtual courses, I thought that it would be quite comfortable and free, since I could have more spare time and more sleep time, do not need to dress myself up and eat what I love at home. How wonderful it could be! However, peace was not the right word for this period. Somber and tiring were more suitable. Having courses online was even more tiring than having courses in the classroom. I had to sit in front of computers for more than 8 hours a day. Besides, most of the homework had to be finished online by typing on the computer which drove me crazy. Altogether, there must be more than 12 hours a day I spent on the computer. However, the computer was not so kind to me. My eyes were so sore after a-whole-day work and my neck started to be stiff, which was the feeling that I never experienced before.


I also realized the huge significance of my friends and the enormous happiness they brought to me. Studying at home meant studying without friends' company, even no chatting time with friends. Sometimes, I would sit simply before my desk and do nothing, but staring at the empty wall or casting my eyesight out of the window to observe the various kinds of clouds. The power of competition with classmates was also reduced which led to a quite serve result to me. I started to wonder why I had to study and what’s the meaning of study to me. Then, I felt powerless when I did my work. (Part of the reason was I didn’t figure out an exact ideal major know.) I felt even more meaningless when SAT and TOEFL were concealed in the following month. As a student who was going to study abroad, I got NO grade of SAT, No power to study, and even No passion to live.


“We should never feel sad for things that we can not change or determine.”


One night, when I was spending my time lavishly on watching TV shows, one of my favorite singer said this. Yes. How right this was. As a young student, we were not able to change the existence of COVID-19. What we could do was to try not being so sad and depressed about it and get fit in it. I used this sentence to comfort me when I was going to lose my temper again.


After gaining power again, I started to recover from my depression. I hoped to send some of my power to Wuhan, the most serious area. I was in the cafe club at my school. We organized a small “company” and managed a cafe shop in school. We’ve sold cafe and drinking at noon and earned some of the money. I planed to use some of the money we earned to buy supplies like medical masks or guards for hospitals in Wuhan. However, masks were in short at that time in China. It was almost impossible to buy enough amounts of masks for Wuhan. At last, we donated some money online for them. Although it was not a huge power to determine something, it was the greatest power we, as high school students, could contribute to our homeland. That was the key point——do the best you could.


Also, I attended the interview course during these five months. The first work I did with my teammates was to find out the beautiful and colorful details in life staying home. I was eager to transport worm power to other students who might also struggle with themselves at home. We interviewed some students, parents, and teachers as well. Life was not just consisted of work and study, but also the lovely plots. Some students discovered that their parents are so lovely which they never sensed before. “My mother is just like an 18-year-old young girl who even discusses the interesting romantic plots in TV serious with me.” This was one of the responses we gained. Others learned how to live alone and how to make a deal with themselves, like me. Some teachers and parents tried to use new-born applications and updated their old conception about them. We were all learning how to be more acceptable to the changing world.


“Never make too many plans.”


This was another powerful sentence to me that was collected when I was listening to songs to relax. This sentence may seem a little bit negative and strange since the most common sentence we’d heard was “make a detailed plan to manage your time”. However, we lived in this changeable world. Everything might happen tomorrow without prediction. The skills we learned not just about how to make a detailed plan, but also how to make a changeable plan and how to set yourself free in a proper way, which is also the main challenge for modern teenagers.


Live at this moment, not in the future.


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