Editor’s note: The Virus Diaries is a series in which Mainers talk about how they are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Gray-New Gloucester High junior Sophie Robinson, 16, and her classmates in Debra Tenenbaum’s 21st century English class have been assigned a daily 500-word journal entry about living in a world shut down by the pandemic.

Keeping a journal has helped Robinson work through her initial anger and frustration over missed opportunities, like having a leading role in the school’s spring production of Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” that will never happen. But that doesn’t mean living in a pandemic is easy, as Robinson writes in her quarantine journal.

“It’s been about a month since the world started to shut down,” she wrote. “The county that I live in has the highest amount of corona cases in Maine. Reporters are now saying that it could take up to six months maybe even two years to get back to a normal state.

“I can’t even think of how the rest of the year is going to look like, let alone starting college with online classes, being cooped up for two years! Deep breaths … it’ll all be OK, everything will go back to normal soon enough, just wait. … Those words are all we’ve been living on for a month. We won’t ever know for sure, but we have to cling on to the light and hope.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in my own world, that it’s only my community and country struggling, but I know that it’s so much more than that. This virus can make you feel so alone, unmotivated, run down, but there’s still so much that we have. We need to show strength and unity. For us to succeed, we can’t be tearing each other down, we need to come together. We’re not weak, we are not stupid. Well, we may be a little ignorant, but we are not alone.

“Yes, there are many problems occurring in the world because of the virus, but we need to remember everything we have, and be grateful for them. We just have to hope those happy things don’t fail on us too. For once, everyone is putting their faith into the hands of others, and it’ll be interesting to see how long it lasts.

“I’m actually very proud of how creative extroverts are getting just to interact with other people. Movie dates, lunch dates, game nights, all over video chats. And as much as I’d be down to do those with friends, I have so many introverted friends that don’t care for video chats. I have to beg them to talk to me, and I get really mad when they push them off. I found that my introverted friends are coping a lot quicker and easier than me. But we need to respect each other’s needs, whether that be alone time or people time.”

Robinson said as she has kept her journal she’s also begun a “list of instructions for not giving up,” which include:

Spend time with family. Whether this be going on walks, playing games, watching movies/starting new shows, or doing puzzles. Or at least give them a hug and tell them how much you care for them.

To-do lists. This has become very helpful for me because I have found myself getting swamped with work all at the same time. So, this way you can keep track of all the work you need to do and check them off when you’re done, which is so satisfying. I usually take care of my longest assignments first because it’s a huge weight off your back.

Take breaks. It can be hard for some of us to relax, but you feel so much better when you do. I want everyone to be feeling good with themselves, this is not a time to be feeling bad. So don’t overwhelm yourselves. Maybe even do some self-care activities like baths, or masks, just give time to treat yourself.

Take up some hobbies. It’s really good for us to do something we love. I’ve had more time to paint, write, and go on runs and I feel more myself.

Make time for friends. I for one, am very extroverted and feel the need to talk to people all the time and my friends are mostly introverted and don’t feel the same need, often asking me “maybe another time.” We need to take care of each other and let us vent. We want to know if everyone’s okay.

Change can be good! If you’ve been wanting to update your room, now’s the time! I colored my hair and it felt great because I have something new to live with. If you want to change up your wardrobe, it’s a perfect time to clean out and add more, and no one will have to see the transition.

Stay POSITIVE!!! Remember all of the good things in your life. Not all of 2020 has to be filled with bad memories. Take one step at a time. Appreciate the little things. And look on the bright side of life.

Do you have a story to share about how you are affected by the coronavirus outbreak? Email us at [email protected]

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.