From the Blog

Student Voice: A No-Nonsense Approach to Learning on “Corona-cation”

by Jozie Smith

student essay

Jozie Smith is a high school student from MSAD 17 in Maine.

I have not been doing school work. I have not been reading my emails and I have not been checking my Google Classroom. I have not been looking at my assignments that were due last week, this Friday, or three days from now, despite the fact that I am very well aware they are waiting for me online. I do know what I am supposed to be doing. I should be taking time out of my day to focus on what my teachers have prepared and planned for me. I should finish reading that book for English and then complete a test and essay that follows. I should be creating a lovely design for a music festival and taking photos of the world around me. I should be writing about the history of the piano instead of writing this nonsense paper in front of me. I have done work for one class, although I did not use the assignments online to guide me. On numerous occasions during this weird time of the ‘rona and the quarantine it has brought, I have taken a case and opened it. I picked up the three pieces of my instrument and jointed them together. I brought my music stand to the middle of my room. I played scales with two octaves and practiced the patterns for the corresponding key signatures. I played my favorite songs and I could feel my brain relax and truly enjoy the feeling of playing my flute. Each and every time I pick up my instrument, I know that it is not nonsense. The joy I feel from that little piece of silver and nickel is beyond anything I can explain. I have loved that instrument before I ever held one in my hand and to this day, I continue to be in love with it and I will always take time out of my day to learn more and feel the thrill of a lovely piece of music. Nothing about playing my flute is nonsense.

I never took a culinary class, but maybe I should have. I am not one to design art on paper or on a computer. I am one to create simple art on a plate. Throughout this quarantine, I have stayed in my kitchen for hours. I have used whisks and forks and spatulas, cleaned them, and used them again. I have created meals for my family and laid them upon a plate that shows the love that goes into that food. With so much cooking and baking going on in my kitchen, there is a never ending pile of dishes. Let me tell you, those dishes are absolutely no nonsense. Dishes are not fun, but everything before and after the wet and soapy water fills my heart with happiness and joy. Creating a yummy dish from scratch and hearing my family tell me that they love it is not nonsense. Eating cookie dough off of a spoon is not nonsense. I love creating simple foods and dessert favorites. It is such a time consuming act, especially with no dishwasher, but no part about it is nonsense.

Doing tasks and activities that I enjoy is not nonsense. Along with taking care of my home, I am constantly taking care of myself. I am not seeing my friends, I am not seeing that new cute boy I have been talking to. I am home and I am writing down my feelings and taking relaxing baths, nourishing my skin and my hair and listening to music. I am singing and I am playing my flute and I am cooking dinner and baking desserts. I am learning more about myself every day. I am learning (and remembering) how to play a high B flat. I’m learning how to bake cookies without a recipe—a huge goal of mine. I’m learning how long to cook a burger and I am learning to keep myself happy.

It is extremely hard knowing that I am missing out on the end of my senior year. It hurts. I am missing my band concerts and my parades. I am missing my fun and spunky teachers. I miss my people and I am missing a lot of activities I have looked forward to for so long. I am missing out on my track season and I have not been able to see my favorite coach in what feels like forever. A big shout out to Ms. Elizabeth, Ms. Valdes, and Ms. Richmond for being amazing women who are always there for me. And thank you to Mr. Jordan, who has made band an amazing experience for me. And Coach D, I love you. I promise none of this is nonsense.

I am sure we can all agree that this Corona-cation is rough. I am aware that I will have to finish that book and take that test and write that essay and take those photos and what not, but I wanted to write this to let all of my people know that I am not sitting here, indulging in nonsense. Although I am not thinking about symbols or design principles, I am learning and becoming a better Jozie and I am helping myself right now. I am missing my sisters and my teachers and my friends, but as I sit at home, not participating in very much online learning, I am learning about myself and I am learning skills for my future. Nothing about becoming a better me is nonsense.