Franz Kafka once wrote, “isolation is a way to know ourselves.” While almost a century has passed since the novelist’s death, this quote seems to resonate with the students of Bronx science through this long period quarantine due to the Coronavirus pandemic. While many sulk in their desire to socialize and return to normalcy, many Bronx Science students have also taken the initiative to make something out of this momentous event, and many have learned various lessons about themselves and their close ones.
For starters, cooking has been a popular skill many have learned. Derrick Tan ‘21 said, “I have learned to cook from a variety of sources: YouTube videos, TV Shows, and Guy Fieri.” Of course, cooking requires materials which may be a hassle to collect with strict social distancing restrictions in place. “I still manage to get these materials,” said Mandy Leung ’20, who also shares some of her newly acquired skills. “This isolation has shown me that I had a passion for cooking,” she said. Leung has even posted some of her dishes like her lobster platter on her Snapchat to show her friends what she was capable of creating. “I could make dishes that I never thought I could make before. That’s all I’ve been doing this quarantine period — that, and being on TikTok,” she added.
TikTok, a free app that has been the main source of trends and entertainment for many, serves as a very popular pastime for our students. While watching and sending these short videos to friends does not require talent at all, it is the creation of these TikTok videos that takes a level of skill. Gazi Fuad ‘20 has somewhat mastered the skill of crafting these clips. Amassing over two-thousand followers (@bourgazi) and getting over one-hundred and twenty thousand views on one of his videos, Gazi shares a few things that he has learned.
“While I do enjoy some time on the app, I learned that talking with your friends is important too,” Fuad said. On the topic of looking out for his peers, Fuad discusses a major issue that the not-for-profit organization, College Board has caused amongst test-takers in one of his TikToks. “While I personally didn’t have any issues with submitting my completed AP exams, I know a lot of other students who did. The College Board could have done a better job to accommodate everyone’s testing problems.”
More sentimentally, we dig deeper into the human mind. Attachment and love are feelings that apparently emerge because of oxytocin, and Jonah Massey ’20 shares a lesson about his own emotions. “I learned not to take seeing my fellow companions for granted. I miss my friends.” Sabin Alam ’20 shared his own emotional regrets and said, “I learned that someone had a little crush on me. I missed the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Some students even take the opportunity to be isolated outside, in their backyards. Ilias Soumayah ’20 said, “I’m learning to skate again. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed it until I needed something to do with all this time on my hands.” Soumayah also takes his talents to Instagram, in order to share his progress on skateboarding.
With no clear end in sight to the Coronavirus pandemic, it is unclear when live will return to normal. However, we must not give up on the year, as we miss out on valuable high school memories.