Back to school, sort of: Camila Reinoso

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Photo courtesy of Camila Reinoso

Joanna Chait

She used to wake up at 6:45, take a shower, and eat breakfast. She used to walk to the Takoma Metro Station with some neighbors, and ride the Metro for an hour until the train pulled into the Adams Morgan Station. She used to enter the school building and talk with friends in the cafeteria until they were called upstairs to begin the day. 

 Now, freshman Camilia Reinoso wakes up at 8:30. She eats her typical breakfast: granola, yogurt, or scrambled eggs. She takes a shower, and takes a minute to hike to her workspace: her bedroom, in sweatpants and a t-shirt. 

Since starting high school online, Reinoso’s biggest challenge has been making friends. She doesn’t know many of her classmates and can’t see anyone in person, so she has resorted to “sliding into the DMs” as her primary method for befriending her classmates. 

“Yeah, it was kind of creepy. I just like, looked them up,” admitted Reinoso. Casual conversations followed the initial message, usually about school-related topics. 

“I’ve gotten closer to the people that went to my middle school, because we’re kind of relying on each other,” said Reinoso. Oyster Adams, where Reinoso attended, is a much smaller community. She has gone to school with the same kids her whole life, until this year. 

 “At [Oyster] Adams there’s classes that move together. I had people that I knew in all my classes that had the same work,” said Reinoso. She emphasized the difference between moving as a class in middle school, and having a more individualized high school schedule, as well as not knowing the majority of her classmates. 

Reinoso felt nervous for her first day of school. “I think I was more nervous than I needed to be, now I’m not,” Reinoso said. Now, a month into school, Reinoso feels completely adjusted to the new circumstances.

“I would prefer in person, obviously, but I think learning online isn’t that bad.” She likes the fact that she gets more sleep now, and not having to go into a physical building makes everything more efficient.

The most challenging aspect of distance learning for Reinoso is that “it’s harder to communicate with the teachers.” She also explained that virtual school makes it harder to get individual help. 

Reinoso proceeds to sit down at her desk and do her first two classes of the day on Microsoft Teams. When lunch time arrives Reinoso walks down stairs and makes her lunch— frozen dumplings, a new quarantine favorite. She then picks up her phone and Facetimes a friend while eating. 

  After school ends, Reinoso does her thirty minutes of homework, if she has any. Sometimes she stays home, but often she spends time with her friends. She’ll call them, and then ride her bike to Adams Morgan, where most of her friends live. 

Most of her social interactions with friends consist of hanging around outside at parks or her friends’ porches. On some occasions, Reinoso and her friends will grab food. The mango sorbet from Pitango, burrito bowls or chips and guacamole from Chipotle, or the Vanilla Bean Frappuccino from Starbucks are some of Reinoso’s usual snacks. 

When Reinoso is not spending time with friends after school, she is running track. Track practices are held from 5:30 to 7:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. “I actually just started track. We had the first practice yesterday. So that was fun,” Reinoso said. Practices are outside at Fort Reno because the team can not hold practices on the Wilson property. Students start practice wearing masks, have their temperatures checked, and have their QR codes scanned. The QR codes lead to a survey that has questions about places the athletes traveled, and if they had any possible COVID symptoms. “We stretched and we did drills and stuff, and then they split us up into distance and sprinting,” Reinoso said. 

Reinoso ran the 200 in middle school, but has noticed that track is more serious at Wilson. Since her first practice, she has already started to make new friends. 

“I’m excited to meet people there,” Reinoso said. Track is the only way she can meet new people in person. 

 Reinoso concluded, “I don’t think I’ll have as many friends when we do go back to school as I would have if we had started  in person.” For now, Reinoso is sticking to her little bubble of friends she has known her whole life, mostly frolicking around outside in parks near Adams Morgan.