Wisdom Bootcamp: Life and the Coronavirus


KW senior Sydney Shupick leaves the school after swapping out her Chromebook. KW closed on March 16th due to the coronavirus pandemic and reopened only to limited staff to help with online learning on April 6th.

Katie Johnson, Staff Writer

A novel virus. Self-induced quarantine. Limited social interactions. School closures. People dying. The entire world disrupted. Looking at the ways that the COVID-19 virus has altered our lives appears dystopian. No one could have foreseen the world’s economy crashing, or tens of millions of Americans filing for unemployment, but it happened in a matter of weeks. The entire world has been turned on its head, but we are still finding ways to cope and thrive. 

A group of people that are taking the coronavirus disruptions particularly hard is the high school seniors who have missed the final section of their senior year. They are missing out on all of the pivotal moments that come with the end of high school — prom, their last sports season or concert, seeing friends in school everyday, graduation, and closure to their 13 year journey through public school. These seniors and all of their trials and tribulations are a microcosm for the shared human experience during the pandemic. They have been faced with more adversity than they bargained for, but with adversity always comes growth. 

Rather than wallowing in self-pity, these seniors have been finding new ways to spend their time and make new memories. Discovering new hobbies and expanding on previous ones has been something that they have been doing with all of their newfound time. Rachelle Trujillio said, “I made a chalk mural of Starry Night by Van Gogh on chalkboard wallpaper in my room.” 

Others mentioned practicing guitar, making ‘trendy’ crafts, and spending more time outdoors. Senior, Ethan Spicher said, “My favorite memory was hiking from downtown to lookout point [a spot on Casper Mountain] starting at 3 am to beat the sunrise.” Spicher mentioned that an experience like that never would have happened during the regular school year.  

Being up in the wee hours of the morning seemed to be a common activity that these seniors have been enjoying. Andrew Brown and Rachelle Trujillio discussed how they have gone up on the mountain to enjoy the sunrise with a group of their friends several times. Brown said that his favorite moment during quarantine was, “waking up at the crack of dawn to watch the sunrise with [his] friends.” 

It hasn’t been all fun and games though. The seniors  have been forced to go online with their schooling. It has been difficult, but Rachel Schmucker said that it has made her, “feel more prepared for college by studying independently.”   

College and their next steps has been on many of the senior’s minds. There is a possibility that the fall semester of college will be cancelled. While this is not something that anyone wants and looks like an inherently negative possibility of the surface, Brown has found some solace. He said, “I [will] get another 4 months with my friends and family.”

Getting more time with their families is something that every senior said was one of the best side-effects of the coronavirus’ effect on society. Everyone is confined with their families for most of the day. Schmucker and her family have been finding new, creative ways to spend their family time. She said, “My favorite memory from the past few months was playing tennis with my whole family while wearing matching sweatbands. We must have been a spectacle.” 

This trying time has provided lots of self-reflection time and has led to many breakthroughs about what matters. A main thread throughout what all of the seniors learned was that life is impermanent and fleeting. That is a lesson that everyone is taught, but most young people feel like they have all of the time in the world. This pandemic has shown them that no one has that privilege. Brown said that his biggest lesson was, “definitely to live in the moment and appreciate the simple things because you never know when or how fast that could all change, but also do to your best to make the most out of it and find the positives in each situation.”  

Trujillio expressed similar sentiments and said, “to savor the simple moments. I try to record the best parts of my day everyday no matter how small and I’ve learned taking time to reflect on and appreciate the small moments is the best and easiest way to appreciate life.”

These young people have been provided with an experience that had the ability to give them wisdom beyond their years. All we can hope for is that they take these instrumental lessons into the rest of their lives and make this world a better place. Because soon enough this will all be a memory. After all, life is completely unpredictable and ephemeral, right?