I spent the first eight years of my life in Chicago and then moved to Shanghai. I’ve always found myself stuck in between both of my homes—these lively metropolitan cities. Living in each place is drastically different, but I love them equally. However, the past months have forced me to settle in the antithesis of my previous neighborhoods: the calm New Jersey suburbs.
Unfortunately, I found myself literally “stuck.” With my U.S. passport, amidst raging coronavirus cases in the country, flying back to Shanghai was difficult. Thankfully, over time I eased into quarantine life in my new setting. Like anyone else, I experienced online high school and watched way too many movies, but being far from home during the pandemic forced me to take a look at what was going on around me.
Attending Groton, I spent a lot of time in America, but I was in a bubble of studying and school life. I never really took a moment to understand what was really happening in the U.S. Sure, I grew up in America, but only lived here as a child. I began by admiring the suburban landscape, but eventually started tuning in to news channels and took an interest in being politically informed. In such a polarizing time in America, I was incentivized to start educating myself.
Incorporating watching the news into my daily routine, I gained a fuller understanding of the current government, and how people in power can affect individuals and the America that I will live in. I also learned about the meaning of the social movements happening around me. Using social media to follow accounts like Black at Groton and to read stories from my BIPOC peers, I was able to gain insight into personal stories and truly understand the power and cruciality of Black Lives Matter.
My time in quarantine has had its fair share of boredom and frustration, but my stay in New Jersey has allowed me to learn so much—an experience I might have missed with a summer back in Shanghai.