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

James Terry, 16, wonders how going through the coronavirus pandemic will affect him as he grows up. Photo courtesy of James Terry

Fishing and hiking have helped high school junior James Terry, 16, fill some of the void of not being able to play high school sports. But there’s little during the stay-at-home days of the coronavirus pandemic that compensates for the loss of attending school in person.

“I’m able to text people but that gets boring really quick. And even with the relationships with people not my age, like teachers, it’s kind of strange to see none of them for a few months,” said Terry, who attends Gray-New Gloucester High.

Terry has been keeping a journal for his English class about how the pandemic is impacting his life. Here are some samples:

MARCH 31: My family is responding to the situation pretty well, however the best thing that happened to me over the past two weeks was when I was able to go out fishing with friends. Now that the severity of the virus has increased, that’s changed. I can only do things by myself which, I’m going to be honest, it’s getting very boring and I’m going to need to find an alternative.

APRIL 2: There’s always one thought in the back of my head: there’s a potential we have to experience social distancing in our houses for a long time. Who knows when I can see large groups of people again, start sports or do anything social? I think it will be interesting to see how we grow up if we ever go back to normal and how this affects us even when we’re old.

APRIL 6: I think (the) Monday-Friday (school) schedule is very stressful as online has picked up. It’s become hectic as teachers are assigning work when, as a student, I haven’t been through this situation before so it’s hard to adapt to it. Like my life has completely changed before I knew it. The biggest problem is that it’s nearly impossible to actually learn from Zoom classes for some kids. I personally know the feeling of having no motivation to go to a class and for many kids that’s the result.

APRIL 8: Where I live (the virus outbreak is) not that bad yet so my reality is very different from people in other states or countries. When I see the families and people that live in major cities and how they go about everyday life, it’s almost like a kick in the gut by how surprising it all is. Listening to people’s fears definitely scares me a little. They have a point: What if the virus won’t end for another 10 years? What if I grow up and live the rest of my life in this kind of society? For now I’m thankful that I live in Gray, Maine, even though I’d never think I would say that, and that my friends and family are safe.

APRIL 10: One major thing that happened this week was learning that we won’t be going back to school. I think this is going to be very hard to not be able to see people for a while. I’m hoping teachers don’t put loads of work on us and make this entire time more stressful.

APRIL 28: One topic I noticed today was how social media and news sources can increase the panic drastically due to fake news and conspiracy that cause panic in the people, leading them to do something unrealistic like hoarding essentials that others need.

When we finally come out of the pandemic I think people are going to be very cautious for a long time to ensure their health and safety as it may be a habit now. Personally, as a teenager, I don’t think I’ll come out of this and take the extra steps to ensure I stay healthy, because after being locked in a house for a long time I have a dying urge to go out with friends and go back into society.

MAY 3: This week was supposedly the “reopening of Maine” but still there’s not a lot to do as all the major cities and towns are still closed. The biggest concern for me right now is that this virus will go into the fall which for me would be horrible especially since my senior season for soccer would take a hit.

MAY 10: Personally I don’t like to think of the future that much because it’s just too overwhelming. However I would want the future me to realize how much isn’t guaranteed in life, even the small things. For example, the relationships I have with people. I may not see some of my friends until next year depending on whether or not the virus ends soon or not. I think it’s important for everyone in the future to use this time as an example of how life can change so fast and to make sure we’re prepared.

I know a lot of people have lost their jobs during all this and for people and families in those situations it seems very scary and just a horrible situation to be in. I do think that as a society we are doing a good job spreading awareness about the people in need during this outbreak and that most people will be able to recover from this.

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

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