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The Day in the life of a DiSTAnce Learner                                     

By Baker Reding '21

Online school can be tricky and very routine, but I have certainly found a system that works for my style of learning. On a typical day, I wake up around 8:30 or 9 A.M. depending on how ambitious I am feeling. I lay in bed watching Tik Tok for a solid 15-20 minutes to keep up with the latest trends, eventually getting out of bed after going through the mental repetitions of the renegade, increasing my chances of going viral like Will Guttery. I rub my eyes to ensure that quarantine is still not a dream, getting out of bed and still trying to put on my cadet uniform, only to realize that my muscle memory is playing jokes on me.

Throughout the course of distance learning, I have gotten very lazy about whether I make breakfast or not. When I do decide to make breakfast, it is usually a balanced meal consisting of a Clif-bar and coffee. After breakfast, I head to my workspace where my computer and its fan is already spinning, probably from all the I played the previous night with my friends., an extremely realistic and brain-stimulating online video game in which everyone is an egg, and you must eliminate other players by cracking their shell and watching their egg white and yolk “guts” splatter across your screen. I know, a real think piece. 

As my computer sounds like it is going to take off on a flight to Siberia, I open PowerSchool, only to see cats tangled in wires. Technology doesn’t always fire on all cylinders, but it usually gets fixed quickly or eventually. Depending on what is going on in my classes I may have a Zoom discussion or check in with my classmates and teachers. Although it is virtual, it is always a good time to see my friends during quarantine, whether it be Joe Vascellaro chirping me through a computer screen, or trying not to laugh in class with Seppe Chiovera. 

I have found that it is important for all of us to keep things loose and have some fun with friends. This, after all, is the very thing I miss most about school. I cannot just walk into the cafeteria, hear the laughter, and find all my friends waiting for me. 

Since this is no longer possible in the age of quarantine, we make do with what we can. Sometimes we get together and golf, or we all go through a drive-through, usually Chick-Fil-A, then meet up in the STA hockey parking lot, six feet apart of course. We may not see each other very often during quarantine, but when we do it consists of riding skateboards, joking around, and telling each other how badly we want to bro hug.

Since the cafeteria is indefinitely closed, lunch is something I have to think about now. Most days I play it safe, slapping peanut butter and jelly unevenly on two pieces of bread, calling it a sandwich. My brothers and I drive my mom crazy because we always complain about the lack of food in the house when there is “always food.” 

When I know that all my work is done, I close my computer, change into workout clothes, and hit the basement.  This place is like my refuge. Here, Coach Rosga has prepared bodyweight-centered and quarantine-designed lacrosse team workouts. Here, my family has quite the prison gym set up, consisting of a rusty bar, bench, and plates. I believe in the notion that rusty weights build more character when you use them. Using these rusty weights not only adds 10 pounds to the actual weight it says but also builds my tolerance to tetanus, giving me an advantage over my opponents. 

Once I get a sweat in and shower up, I see if my mom needs any help with dinner. If there is one positive thing about quarantine, it is my mom’s food. Always a great cook, all the sheltering-in-place has inspired my mom to try out some new delicious recipes, one of my favorites being shrimp and grits. It can be difficult to find good shrimp in Minnesota, but my mom always makes it happen. The grits are cooked to perfection and the shrimp is placed beautifully on top, reminding me of South Carolina’s Lowcountry. 

 From about 4-6 P.M., the doldrums of the day, I get pretty bored, so I either play football with my brother, throw the lacrosse ball, or play ping pong. The ping pong table, which my brother and I fixed and cleaned up, has been one of the best things all quarantine. The matches started out as friendly battles in the basement, but as James and I got better, the matches increased in competition as well as trash talk. We try to keep it as friendly as we can, but it’s just too hard not to chirp at each other. It usually goes 50/50 who wins the matches because we are at the same skill level, but nevertheless it is always a good time. 

After dinner, the street lights in Need for Speed Heat’s Palm City turn on, illuminating the race track where I blow by John Gaylord in my Lamborghini Huracan. John and I have had many late nights on those Palm City streets going 150 mph around corners and topping out at 200 mph while running from the cops. Playing PS4 with John is always a good time to catch up and yet again prove to him that I am the better driver. 

When I am not playing Need for Speed, I am dropping into “Verdansk’s Warzone” on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare with Jack Sexton, Seppe Chiovera, and Tommy Deverell. “Warzone” is a battle royale game mode within Call of Duty where you drop in amongst other squads and the last group alive is the winner. Although there is no true squad leader, we have fallen into our own roles in Warzone. Jack Sexton is the stealth rusher who typically runs away from the rest of the squad without telling us; Seppe provides emotional support with his constant freestyle rapping, and Deverell is the trash talker, intimidating the other teams. These games typically get very intense and go into the early morning of the next day. I would not want it any other way with my squad. If we win a game, which is very difficult, we reward ourselves with a celebratory team lunch at Chick-Fil-A. 

If I am not playing video games, I go to bed around 11-11:30 P.M.; however, this is not much later than during normal school. I wake up the next morning hoping that quarantine has been lifted and we can all go back to our normal routines and lifestyles, but this is the new normal. Although my day is not as exciting as it used to be, I am making the best of the situation I can by keeping both my mind and body sharp. During this time of shelter-in-place, it is easy to be down and sad, but there are many opportunities to pick up a new hobby or continue doing something you enjoy (like humiliate John Gaylord). There really is light at the end of the tunnel!

Image of Baker Studying

Baker Reding '21 hard at work in his new classroom.

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