BY MEERA HATANGADI
For a lot of individuals around the world, quarantine has contained some of the worst memories of their lives. Loved ones have been put in danger, racial tension has risen, political polarization has led to further hate, workers have been laid off, and there is not a single person who knows when it will all be over.
Despite the hardships that people have had to go through during quarantine, people have still found the potential to create deep and meaningful memories. Such has been the case for students like junior Christina Nguyen.
During quarantine, Nguyen has made some wonderful memories that she deeply cherishes despite the fact that they were made with the restrictions necessary.
“One of my favorite memories was when my two best friends and I went downtown on a nice day (with masks and maintaining social distance),” Nguyen said. “We saw these electric scooters so of course, we decided to get them. They were super fun to ride and I was so surprised how fast they could go.”
These memories have allowed her to see the light at the end of the tunnel and have lifted her spirits.
For Nguyen, they are and will continue to be some of the best memories she has of 2020, “I definitely appreciate these moments with all my heart,” Nguyen said. “My friends and family are everything to me, and just spending an hour or so with them makes me so happy.”
Just as Nguyen has held these memories dear, junior Joyce Shi has done the same for some of her most prized moments in quarantine.
“Some of my favorite moments were when my friends and I stayed up until 4 in the morning talking about random things over an Instagram call,” Shi said. “ I also loved how I would make strawberry overnight oats every night and decorate it with fruit and honey in the morning.”
These memories, big or small, hold importance to Shi as it helped her get through the rough times that the pandemic had brought upon her. It helped her realize that quarantine is not all that bad and can still foster meaningful memories and relationships.
Another example of a case similar to Nguyen’s and Shi’s can be seen in the experiences of junior Kokone Makino.
Makino had been stuck in quarantine ever since March, when UHS switched to online schools, and as her journey in quarantine has progressed, she has made memories, both good and bad, that will forever occupy a special place in her heart.
“My favorite moment in quarantine was when my best friend and I hiked up a hill with her siblings to see the sunset (socially distanced),” Makino said, “It was the last time I was able to see her before she moved back to France, and going to see the beautiful sunset with her and her family was the perfect way to spend time with everyone”
Makino made this last tender memory with her friend before she moved, all during quarantine. Despite having to maintain social distance with her friend, Makino’s memory serves as a heartfelt example of the power of making the best out of a situation.
Another memory important to Makino is her experience with UCI’s DIRHA program, a program where high school students discuss social issues such as race, culture, gender, and sexuality.
“During the Black Lives Matter Movement, I was inspired to learn and understand more about our society, and this program has allowed me to discuss different topics in ways that I never thought about,” Makino explained, “I’ve gained more understanding and knowledge about these topics than I’ve ever had in my life.”
Through these varying experiences and rich memories, Makino has created a sense of reminiscence in which she can find solace during these difficult times. Through this reminiscence and these memories, she herself has grown as a person.
“Quarantine has taught me what really matters in this world right now,” Makino stated. “I feel like many of us tend to focus on small problems that we personally think matter at that moment,”
“Self-reflections that I’ve done in quarantine had outcomes so much more meaningful than I expected,” she said. “They allowed me to notice what really matters in the world and how much I should focus on the deep judgments I have about myself.”
During these unusual times, as we navigate through these uncharted waters, these students express how it is important to retain a positive outlook on the current situation and to make the most out of it.