Senior Eduardo Hernandez is filling his time with painting, Transformers and Zoom

Senior Eduardo Hernandez is counting down the days until quarantine is officially over and he can resume his everyday life. Until then, he has decided to take to Zoom to hangout with his friends and spend his days creating arts and crafts to stimulate his mind.

When the idea of self-isolation and quarantine was nonexistent over a month ago, Hernandez remembers not feeling worried about the virus. “At the beginning everything was normal, everyone was just joking about the virus because I don’t think anyone thought it was serious,” he said. He was only really worried about his spring break plans with his family, but didn’t think much more of it.

His feelings of excitement were soon amplified when the School District announced an extended break due to public health concerns. “When I was told we were going to have a second week of break I was surprised, but joy overcame that unsettling news,” Hernandez said. In the initial week of Spring Break, he spent his evenings unconcerned with the news, only tuning in to check on the forecast.

About four days into the second week of this extended break, his mother came into his room to announce that beginning that day that the entire family was to stay inside. She told Hernandez he needed to self-isolate immediately. He has sickle cell anemia. “Next thing you know, she was gone for several hours and when she came back the car was filled with food, drinks, snacks and equipment,” he said. “I was trying to tell them there was no need to panic over something like a flu virus, but when Brady called and announced that there was to be no school until April. That’s when I started to take things seriously.”

The effects of the virus soon rippled into Hernandez’s home. The new guidelines meant that he was unable to attend gatherings with friends, attend meetings or even just enjoy going outside. “It was driving me nuts! My mother thought it would be a good idea for me to stay in my room alone because I have sickle cells, but I tried being reasonable with her by asking to leave my room to be a part of everything but nothing worked,” Hernandez said.

Emotions were running high and the number of things he could do to entertain himself were limited, he began feeling sad seeing his friends post on their stories about how much fun they were having. “By the third week, I couldn’t sleep. My body was so sore because I don’t think it was used to me being so lazy,” he said. Then one day, a close friend contacted him about downloading Zoom to cheer him up so he could see his friends and loved ones.

“After an hour of figuring out how to get the app on my laptop and tablet hybrid, I started to feel a little bit happy when I saw all of my friends,” Hernandez said. Some days they would just use it for school to learn together and some nights they would attempt to play games together and create challenges for each other for fun.

Hernandez explains that whenever he found himself bored and unable to chat with friends on Zoom, that he would spend his time creatively. One afternoon he spent his time cutting up cardboard, painting the pieces, and eventually created a Transformers helmet that he posted to his Instagram for his friends to see. “Whenever my eye landed on something, I saw the opportunity to get creative. I see Transformers, boom, I started posing them. I saw paint, boom, I started painting,” Hernandez said.

Now a month into quarantine, Hernandez has been more understanding of the importance of his self-isolation. “I still can’t be the extrovert that I was before, but I feel thankful for everyone and everything even with these troubled times,” he said. “I just want others to realize they can spend their time creatively and enjoy their time with family.”