Opinion: The good in quarantine

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Photo courtesy of Alex Chen '21

Alex Chen ’21 helping on a pacemaker transplant surgery at Koreatown Surgical Clinic in July.

With the pandemic limiting most in-person interaction, it’s understandable that some people have struggled to find something to pass the time. But even during an age of routine isolation, many members of the Jesuit High School Sacramento community have still found ways to stay busy.

For Alex Chen ’21, being in quarantine gave him time to figure out what he wanted to study and to ponder his future. 

“My Junior year was very busy,” Alex said. “I just focused on academics and extracurriculars… so when quarantine started I did a lot of research on medical fields and did some internships. I was confused in my Junior year about what major I should choose… so quarantine really helped me figure that out.”

Brandon Shihabi ’22, a programmer, has also used the extra time to work on something he’s passionate about. 

“I’ve had a lot more freetime…over the summer I had a big app development project for Android, and I was able to write 10,000 lines of code just because of quarantine,” Brandon said.

Quarantine can also serve as a much needed time for reflection. A chance to change the things you want to, and better yourself in the process. With the chance to evolve and adapt also comes new opportunities, and to some, the extra time that quarantine has provided for them is invaluable.

“It’s room for change,” Alex said. “It’s a big enough gap where you’re not surrounded by other people that could bring you down. When you’re by yourself you really think about who you’re as a person.”

Students aren’t the only ones benefiting from the newfound time that quarantine has to offer. Assistant Principal for Academics and English teacher Mr. Colin O’Connor ’04 has enjoyed spending more time with his daughter. 

“It’s been a real blessing for [my wife and me] because of our daughter,” O’Connor said. “Ever since we started staying home… we’ve been able to spend far more time with her than we would when we were both working away from home.” 

While we have been given great opportunities with quarantine, it has also created some obstacles. Keeping in touch with those that we can’t be physically close to is crucial during these times, and is a real testament to the strength of those bonds. Quarantine provides us with a way to show others that we care about them, and by showing effort, it can further strengthen relationships.

Jesuit President Fr. John McGary S.J. believes it’s important to keep relationships strong, especially during this time. 

“Stay in touch with family and friends,” Fr. McGarry said. “I will have some Zoom social time with some of my good friends… I think the main thing is making the effort to stay connected with people since this is a very isolated experience.”

With all of this in mind, it is important not to lose sight of what quarantine has to offer. Even with the bad, there’s some good, and it’s clear that much of the Jesuit community has made the best of the current circumstances.