Mid-Hudson News has launched a “Student Journalist” section to allow elementary, middle, and high-school students to write essays or “news as they see it” for submission (details below). The following is an essay from one of our “Student Journalists”, Tyler Shah-Bomba.
When I was little, I used to love a movie called Finding Nemo. It’s a story about a little clownfish named Nemo who got lost. He overcame a lot of obstacles in his young life. Whenever things got rough his best friend Dory was with him and she kept telling him to “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”. Now I’m 12 but I still think that was really great advice because my friends, family and I have to do a lot of swimming lately because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The thing that I realize most lately is that I think of my life in two different time periods: before the virus and after the virus. Before COVID-19 I was just a regular kid. I was a 12-year-old in the 6th grade at Todd Middle School in Spackenkill school district. I really liked school a lot because I had some cool classes, nice teachers but best of all I got to see my friends every single day. Before the virus, I had acrobatics every Tuesday at Queen City Dance, had Wednesday night dinner with my father, had a tutor for math on Thursday nights and then on Fridays, I did breakdancing and Hip Hop classes at Queen City Dance after dinner. On weekends, I switched sleeping at my mom’s one weekend and then my dad on the other weekend. Life was good, it was going swimmingly.
COVID-19 really changed things a lot for my family and I. For one thing, because my parents are divorced I can’t sleep over my dad’s house anymore right now because he works in Westchester in a hot zone area and has a lot of contact with a lot of people every single day some of them could be sick even if they don’t even know it. I have really bad asthma and that puts me at high risk of distress or dying if I catch the virus probably, that’s what my doctor says. So, my parents talked about it and they both decided that I need to stay home with my mom full time in one house and not switch because it is safer for me to isolate for now but I get to see my dad and visit with him whenever I want by video chat and we play Fortnite online all the time. We also workout together on video chat at least three times a week. I can text him and I talk to him whenever I want. Right now I’m at home full-time with my mom because she is staying home to take care of me, to work and she is in graduate school so she has online remote learning to do which is funny because so do I. I’m really glad my mom and my dad get along. They got divorced when I was little but we still have holidays and birthdays together. He still comes to visit and she can come to his house too. I like that a lot because some of my friends’ parents hate each other and that would make me feel really sad if it happened to me. I forgot to mention, my dad has been working extra hours because a lot of people were fired at his job because of the virus and he has to cover for all of them now. My dad is not able to come into the house because he’s exposed to people all day long in a hot zone, some people he works with got sick. So far he didn’t get sick yet and I hope and pray he doesn’t get sick too. So when he can, my dad stops by so we can be together in the driveway to play a game of horse but we have to stay about six feet apart. He has to wear a mask and gloves all the time, we can’t even hug. I miss his hugs and I feel bad that he can’t come inside for dinner with us like he used to. It’s kind of weird but I know he loves me even if he can’t hug me or kiss me. Plus he tells me all the time anyway, even when I’m beating him in Fortnite. Most of all, I know he loves me because he wants to keep me safe from the virus in case he gets it, he doesn’t want me to get it too.
Before the virus, I went to school. Now, school comes to me. I wake up every morning, have breakfast and then log in to my first-period class which is 6th grade Ela and writing for a Google classroom meeting. I then have a 10-minute break and move on to my second period Class which is reading. And I usually have reading, and math on even days. On odd days I have social studies, science, phys ed and Family and Consumer Science. All of this is online. After I finish my remote school work, my mom lets me play Fortnite so that I can socialize with my friends. I guess this is one good thing because before the virus, I was not allowed to play video games on school nights! My mom says we have to balance everything and its ok to play online right now because I am missing seeing and talking to my friends in real life. Another thing that is different, I am not doing acro and I don’t have a tutor anymore. I take hip hop classes online instead of at the studio.
Before the virus I saw my grandparents all the time especially every Friday because we went to their house for dinner. Now, I’m not able to see my grandparents that much because they are isolating so we have to keep them safe from the virus. I video chat with my Nanna and Pappa every day. I video chat or call my Nee Nee and Dude too. Last weekend for Easter, my Nanna and Pappa had an Easter egg hunt in their yard for me – we had to be 6 feet apart though.
Before the virus, I used to hang out with my baby cousins Gianna and Briella but I can’t do that now. So, I also video chat my cousin Gianna and Briella when I can. Gianna is in kindergarten and Briella is not in school yet, they get silly on the video chat and usually can’t pay that much attention but it’s nice to see them because we’re not able to get together as much as we used to because of the coronavirus.
Before the virus, I spent a lot of time with my big brother Alex who is 27. I am not able to see him either because he lives in a separate household and is isolating with my Nanna and Pappa to help take care of them. I can video chat with Alex and play Fortnite with him also which is really fun but I miss spending time with him, riding the hover-board, playing catch and playing cards in person.
Before the virus, my mom’s fiance and his kids came over all the time. Now, my mom doesn’t get to see him because he has kids and they live in a separate household and we have to social distance because his daughter had cancer and she is really super high risk and so we have to keep her extra safe by isolating away from them. Usually they would come over every other weekend for dinner but that doesn’t happen now. I haven’t seen them in over one month. I know it’s been hard on my mom, but she says it’s only temporary and it’s to protect each household from possibly being exposed to the virus and getting each other sick.
Before the virus, I had a lot more chores to do like getting the mail, bringing in packages and groceries, running errands with my mom at the grocery store and putting all the groceries away. I still have chores like making my bed, cleaning my room and stuff but after the virus, I have less chores because my mom has to wipe everything down with Lysol before it comes into the house and I’m not allowed to help with that she said. She wears gloves and stuff. Is it weird to say I miss doing those chores? I guess I miss it because if I had to do those chores again it means everything would be back to normal.
I miss my friends. Alot. but I also know this is not going to last forever it’s only temporary, I get to see them online and I’m kind of enjoying being home with my mom right now because we are spending a lot more time together and we don’t have to rush as much every day.
Since the virus, my mom and I are together 24/7. We’ve been breaking a lot of rules like watching movies on school nights because she used to be really strict about no TV on school nights and stuff like that but now she’s trying to have a little bit more fun with me to make it things less stressful I think. We have dinner together every night and talk about our day – even though she knows how my day went because she was there the whole time, haha.
Since the virus, I noticed that I have been having some bad dreams lately. I think it’s because I am stressed about the coronavirus out there so it’s making me have some strange dreams at night and it’s harder to go to sleep. Sometimes it’s been so hard to sleep that I have to go to my mom’s room at night so we can talk it out. Some of my friends are really freaked out by the virus. Other friends don’t really care and they are hanging out with people even though they are not supposed to. This is definitely not easy to handle all of this right now, but I know I’m not the only one going through it. We are all in this together. The best advice I have for other kids going through the coronavirus situation who are confused, scared, upset and having a hard time with all the changes because of the virus is to follow the rules and do what Nemo did – “just keep swimming, just keep swimming” because eventually we will all make it through and be just fine.
About the author:
Hi, my name is Tyler Shah-Bomba. I am a sixth-grader in Spackenkill Union Free School District. I enjoy activities such as acro, hip-hop, break dancing, Fortnite and making Tik Tok’s. You can find me on Tik-Tok at Optictyler (like and follow me!). My hobbies are basketball, dancing, Fortnite, and trying to outdo Charli D’amelio in popularity on Tik Tok. I’m only 48.9 million followers away, we are neck to neck! I live with my mom Anna, she is a lawyer and back in grad school for a degree in medicine. My dad is Jason, he is in hotel management and a really fun dad. I love animals and I practically have a zoo – guinea pig, conure, quaker, parakeets, cat, and dog. I have an older brother named Alex and he is my best friend. I have grandparents, Nanna and Pappa (mom’s parents) and Nee Nee and Dude (dad’s parents). When I’m not doing schoolwork, you can find me online writing stories, playing video games or making Tik Toks.
If you have a student that is interested in writing a submission, please send an email to Todd Bender at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for the submission requirements.