While the official ‘stay-at-home’ order issued by Governor Gretchen Whitmer at 11a.m. this morning disheartened many Michiganders, contrarily, many Forest Hills Eastern students have been using the lock down time away from school as an opportunity to grow creatively. Numerous Hawks, such as Emma Smolek (’20), have taken it upon themselves to begin long-term projects to continually work on during the upcoming days of quarantine.
“I’m currently working on a large quilt,” she said of her current art project, and overall, claims to be “really enjoying” the state-wide shut down. “It sucks that everything was cancelled, but since I am an introvert I am fine with all the social distancing. And I can get enough sleep!” she said, describing her silver linings in these unique times. Emma also believes that practicing self-motivation is beneficial for students; it is a good preparatory for college, as well as life outside of high school.
While others, such as Ella Bowen (’21), received the quarantine more negatively, art has still provided an escape and a “happy place” in these tumultuous times. “I am horribly bummed,” said Ella, speaking to the downsides to the global pandemic. “I’m trying to stay positive, but being separated from the people I love is the most painful thing for me.” However, even with the uncertainty, Ella’s passion for running and her love for art has allowed her to remain creative and inspired. “I have a very romantic way of thinking so I usually end up drawing scenes within my own head but purposely prettier and… more nostalgic… I’m a sucker for reminiscing, so having so much time has created a lot of thoughts that spawn art like this.”
Some students such as Eliza Daniels (’22) have even been utilizing their time at home to further their musical skills. “I love playing the piano… At first this pandemic was making me nervous, but playing piano always gives me relief. With all this time off I can finally practice some songs I’ve been looking at for a while… I recently got a Les Mis songbook and I’m loving it!” In addition to furthering her current skills, Eliza hopes to broaden her musical horizons, and “[plans] on trying to learn how to play the guitar.” While acknowledging that the lack of structure and seeing friends is a bummer, Eliza believes that this time should be viewed as an opportunity to “reflect and relax”, and that it’s important to realize the situation is primarily out of our control, so it’s important to “do the best with what we’ve got!”
Tangentially, Leo Eppinga (’20) has found that the influence of music has grown in his routine as well over the course of the past week, saying that it has become even “more of a constant” in his life. “My mom plays cello in the Grand Rapids Symphony and I’ve been able to listen to her methods and strategies of practicing, which has both inspired me to practice more,” he says of the impact the consistent melodies have had on him. He also claims that the increase in exposure to music has inspired him to work “smarter, not harder.” Along with the increase of music in his daily regiment, Leo has also been taking time to work on personal art and painting projects.
While the COVID-19 craze has resulted in normal activities coming to a screeching halt, FHE’s students have once again proved that they can make the best out of an unfortunate situation. While the future may seem uncertain or worrisome, it is important for us to be actively searching for silver linings to apply to our modified daily schedules. Call friends and family to check in on them periodically, heed the governor’s orders to stay at home to prevent the spread of the virus, and balance exercising creativity with staying on top of any schoolwork. In the meantime, keep your heads held high, and stay strong Hawks.
Featured Image courtesy of Ella Bowen