When I was in fourth grade my class was told we’d be graduating in the year 2020. I always looked at 2020 and thought it was a far-off vision. I thought I’d be a different person. I thought I’d have my life together by now, but I never expected this. I never expected to be doing online classes, pantsless in my bedroom. I never thought that I’d be waking up at 8:57 to pull out my computer at 9:00 to go to my first class. I never expected that I’d be in bed, looking at my computer all day. I never expected my sleep schedule to go from normal to being this skewed. I never expected that after my mom went grocery shopping we’d have to sanitize the packaging. I never expected a mass number of people to be dying from a deadly virus. I never expected life to change so drastically.
If my fourth grade self could see life now, I know she’d be confused, she wouldn’t want to believe it. She’d ask so many questions. I’d try not to get annoyed, but I’m impatient, I might snap at her. I don’t know how I’d be able to explain everything to her. I don’t even know if she’d be asking questions about the virus and the state of the world. I think she’d ask more about whether or not I have a boyfriend and a car. She’d probably ask about high school, she’d ask if I get popular, she’d ask if I’m still in special ed. She’d be disappointed and upset with my answers. I don’t think she’d be proud of me.
My fourth grade self would not be proactive when thinking about the state of the world. We’ve never been good at planning for the future. She might be anxious about it, but she wouldn’t do anything to plan. She might be kept up at night, but she wouldn’t start hoarding hand sanitizer and toilet paper. She might warn people at first, but then she’d stop after people started giving her weird looks and making fun of her behind her back. If my fourth grade self could see the world now, she’d be terrified, but she wouldn’t let the fear control her. After all, that makes sense. We’ve been systematically desensitized to the world since we were born.
Amy Benson is a student at School One in Providence, Rhode Island.