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Baltimore Students and Their Response to COVID-19–Stephanie Estep, Ben Franklin High School

In early May, the Fund asked a group of City Schools students to share their experience of remote learning during this time of school closures due to the COVID-19 crisis. Their responses were drafted in mid-May, prior to the mass demonstrations across the country. In our third blog post of this series, Stephanie Estep, a student at Ben Franklin High School, discusses the importance of maintaining human connection in the midst of this pandemic and shares how she’s used this time of quarantine for self-reflection:

This pandemic called “COVID-19” also known as the “Coronavirus,” has been a very interesting and new learning time for me. What has the school closure been like for me? For me, it has been crazy, I went from seeing and hugging my friends, seeing my niece almost every day, and being outside around people to staying inside, to only going out when I absolutely need to, to not seeing my friends at all, to having no interaction at all with humankind besides my family. I wish I could see my teachers more often because I feel crazy to the point where I have started talking to my reflection in the mirror (lol).

I think during this time, adults should know about the things we are going through. For example, one of my friends was being bullied in school. Since this school closure has happened he doesn’t get bullied anymore but he’s still going through things and I believe that is something adults and other teenagers should be aware of. This time is stressful. We should check in with our friends and even with family members, all the human interactions are important. Even if we can’t be there physically, having someone there mentally is what is most important and can help change a person’s life.

This time for a teenager is the most important time ever. While some might view this as a vacation, for me, this is a time of finding myself, this is a time where I put my all effort into something. For me, I put all my effort into school, not because it is a must but because it is something that helps keep me moving and I think this time will show colleges how involved I am. During this time, I have been able to focus on my classwork and the quizzes more, I have had more time to complete the work, and I’ve enjoyed just being able to create my own schedule. The classwork is easy to me, it always has been, and being able to do live sessions with my teachers on questions is awesome! There isn’t really anything that has been hard for me, but for others, I know some of my friends have had this problem, which is the fact that sometimes things don’t load up properly or that they just find it hard to manage everything. I try my best to help all my friends during these times, and I even encourage students to come to the online class sessions and complete the work. I really miss school being open, seeing my teachers, and seeing my friends.

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