Left Unsaid: What We’re Really Missing When We Quarantine.


Kate O'Brien

Quarantine leaves many missing the normalcy of human interaction.

Isabel Engel, Executive Editor

In fourth grade, my teacher would always end class by giving each student a high-five, handshake, and hug. These daily interactions were classroom norms, but would now be so out of the ordinary. So much has changed in a matter of months, and I long for the normalcy of old times. 

Like most of you, I’m sure, quarantine has me missing so many of my favorite activities and pastimes. I miss my a cappella group. I miss waiting in the lunch line on Tofu Days. I miss the passionate political debates in my APUSH class. I could go on, but I think you get the point. If I had the time or desire, I could make a never-ending list of all of the things I so miss while quarantining at home. But, what is it that truly I miss the most? 

Upon reflecting on this growing list a few days ago, I realized that each item is characterized by a common thread: human interaction. While I certainly miss the a cappella music we produce during practice, I miss even more the shared laughs and frustrations during practice when we can’t get a harmony quite right. And, in a similar light, while I do miss the tofu on Tofu Days, I miss the chance to wait in the lunch line and catch up with friends after class a whole lot more. 

I’ve come to understand that you truly don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone. And I know, you’re probably thinking that idea is cliché; you’d be right. But, during times like these, I’m finding this expression to be all the more relevant. Prior to this pandemic, I didn’t think much of the chance to high-five a friend in the hall, give a handshake, or hug a friend after their performance. And, for good reason. These were unchanging, everyday constants. Who would have thought, three months ago or so, that we’d be unable to interact with our friends and family? Quarantined at home, I’ve acquired a renewed appreciation for human interaction. 

Zoom calls are a great way to stay in touch, don’t get me wrong, but they do not suffice for live conversations. Group FaceTimes are a fun way to stay connected, but they cannot replace the energy of a room filled with friends, laughs, and smiles. Communicating through screens, I’ve realized the value of just being with people. 

If you take one lesson away from this article, let it be this: cherish your interactions with others, for you never know when they could be taken away. What seems like an everyday routine could be stripped away in an instant. For now, though, I anxiously await the day when I can come back to Potomac. The day when those high-fives, handshakes, and hugs will be normal once again.