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“You must be…” the principal said. Through my nervousness I said, “Lauren,” even though my friends at my old school knew me as Eunice. Seems to me that I still can’t believe I just moved to Chicago from my life in California. It was my second time moving to a whole new place, and I had mixed feelings about it. This was all so sudden: me, going to a new school and starting as a sixth grader. The way people looked at me and the tall glass building where kids were pouring in—I was excited, nervous, and happy. I took a glimpse at my schedule, smiled at the girl standing next to me, and walked into the building with my feet heavy as a house.   

As soon as I walked to my homeroom, I started to regret being so confident. I saw my teacher and gave a nervous look. She told me to sit down and I obeyed her without a second thought. Then a girl looked at the girl behind me and shouted, “Hey! Wanna hang out after school today?” The girl behind me simply nodded and smiled. I wished I was the girl behind me. I wished I wasn’t feeling so nervous and the butterflies would calm down. Our teacher gave a short simple look at each and one of us and she told us to write down our schedule. Our teacher had short brown hair with a T-shirt and shorts. Sporty look. I wrote down my schedule and tried to look at the bright side. 

A few weeks passed by and I started to get used to the school. The classes, my friends, and even the system. It was hard and itchy when I wore my white mask to school for seven hours straight. Even though we had breaks, it wasn’t long enough. I also hated that I have to stay six feet away from each other. I wish I could hug my friends, be near them, and even share food with them. Here comes the worst part of all: lunch time. Usually, lunch would be full of dancing, gossiping, laughing, playing, or reading: without a mask. But now, lunch is like, “You eat fast, and put your mask on!” It’s the worst. Masks hurt, make your breath slow, and make my glasses fog up. I miss the old days when I would sit inches away from my best friend, gossiping about boys. It seems like it’s never going to happen again, never.

Even though it’s really hard to be in-person and get used to everything, I would rather risk my life than do remote learning. I’ve done remote learning before. It was the worst. Okay, I have to admit that I was being a bit lazy about my work when we started to do remote learning in March. But there were other difficulties like poor connection, not being able to see and understand clearly, or even make any friends. My friends do remote learning and they said that they miss the old days--when they played with their friends. I, for one, feel thankful that I am going in-person. There were a handful of kids who were in remote learning who didn’t understand how to do their work so they nearly didn’t do anything for class. Also, when it comes to friends, once again, I am thankful. I made a bunch of friends. They are nice, kind, and friendly. I think that if I was in remote learning, I wouldn’t even know them by now. And I would have felt absolutely lonely. So, maybe, I am lucky that I am in-person after all. 

Right now, we have remote students and in-person students. Maybe friends are separated from seeing each other and I miss my old lunch time when I would gossip, hug each other, and share sweets! I think that when Covid-19 is over, I can be inches apart from my friend sharing sweets and gossiping about boys and girls, and I would even hug her when we meet each other in school or before leaving school. And most importantly, I wouldn’t have to sanitize every period or even wear the itchy, white, disgusting mask. I would probably get to see a smile on everyone’s face and I think I would be glad to see it. Even outside of school, I would probably get to travel with my friends and I hope for that day to come even if it would take 10 years for it to be over.

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