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Ending My Service Year in Quarantine

Waking up at 9am. Microsoft Teams calls. Zoom Calls. Virtual high-fives. “Don’t forget to screenshot!” This is the new normal, serving from home.

To state the obvious: this has been rough. Hands down the hardest part is not being able to see the students I’ve been working with the past year. But if City Year has taught me anything, it’s that there is always joy if you look for it.

Because let’s be real, who hasn’t been enjoying working in sweatpants (…or no pants, if that’s your thing)? And there’s no more worrying if I’ll forget my nametag at home. I get to drink coffee with my favorite creamer whenever I want. I’ve rediscovered my love for reading – thank you City Year Book Club! I’ve been grateful for all the time I’ve been able to spend with my boyfriend and my dog. I even finished a DIY project to go outside and use my balcony more. And I watched the Thunderbirds fly right over my apartment the other day!

I’ve been able to hear from other Corps members from all over the nation with HQ calls. My creativity has been pushed by trying to come up with new ways to connect with my team and my students virtually. I also have had loads of time that I wouldn’t have to try and figure out what I’m doing after my service year.

Also, once I stopped obsessively checking for updates on the virus, I noticed that there were good things coming out of this. The San Antonio community has been so resilient and has banded together to support one another. The school district we serve in has handed out thousands of devices to be able to connect students to online learning spaces. They also announced they’ve handed out a million meals to families in need. Businesses have pitched in to do their part in providing more masks to our healthcare workers. Teachers and administration have organized car parades to drive by and wave hello to students.

It hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine, especially at the beginning, but I’m choosing to focus on these joys. Yes, Covid-19 may have taken away the time with my students and being able to have a proper goodbye at the end of the year, among other things. But it could never take away the time that I DID get to spend with them. All of the work we did, the talks we had, and the memories we made.

Even though this year didn’t end how I wanted it to, it has still been one of the most impactful years of my life. And hey, I didn’t think any of family were going come to my graduation, but now all of them are able to see me graduate via Zoom! For that, I am joyful.

“Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.” – Alice Morse Earle

This post was written by Courtney Kovaks, first-year AmeriCorps member, who serves at Margil Academy. 

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