My Not So Sweet Quirky Quarantine


Jancy Suber, Writer

Friday, March 13, 2020. The last normal school day. An email was sent out to students and their guardians that read…

“Following Gov. Brian Kemp’s recommendation for school districts to consider suspending operations for two weeks, Cartersville City Schools will close all its schools and offices beginning Monday, March 16 and remain closed through Sunday, March 29. The measure is to support local and statewide efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

When I received the notification in my Office 365 email that we would quarantine from Cartersville High School for two weeks, I was devastated because my birthday was the next week, on Thursday, March 19.

I was very excited to come to school and have my friends tell me “Happy Birthday!” and sing to me during each and every class period. I had already anticipated that feeling of enthusiasm where I get one day out of the whole year to celebrate my existence, especially last year because it was my sixteenth birthday. Making it to another year of life, accumulating more responsibilities, gaining more freedom and knowledge, and finally being able to drive on my own! Birthdays are special to my family and me because we always celebrate in a major way. Birthdays are extravagant celebrations of life. We are always awakened by birthday songs, surprise gifts, and a decorated room. My parents go out of their way to show all of us how much we are loved. My mom suggested we fly to New York for a weekend shopping spree, but I insisted on having an extravagant party. My jubilation came from planning the party of the year, Jancy’s Sweet Sixteen Fresh Princess Birthday Bash. Party invitees and I planned to wear our freshest, dopest 90s gear, hear a live DJ play the newest bops (music), capture our memories in a photobooth, and more.

Let me set the scene.

Imagine a hot pink carpet rolled out leading into the building. I enter decked out in my custom designed and painted Vans and my 90s attire which would have included shredded jeans, an airbrushed shirt, my gold Tiger chain, a pink scrunchie, and a pair of hoop earrings.

The energetic rhythm and bass of the music can be felt when entering the building. The ambience leaves you speechless.

The room is adorned from top to bottom with color-changing uplights and downlights.

Fog and balloons blanket the floor of the venue.

It turns out, March 13 would be the last day of 2020 when life felt like what I would describe as “normal, familiar, and fun.” A day that I did not have to worry about wearing a mask, carrying hand sanitizer, or being socially distanced from my friends, family, and routine way of life.

To this day, I have yet to fully celebrate my sweet sixteen.

When 2020 began, it was supposed to be a new year, bringing new hope, new experiences, and more freedom and knowledge. In 2020, all the stars were supposed to align. Valentine’s Day would be on a Friday, Cinco de Mayo would be on Taco Tuesday, July Fourth would be on a Saturday, Halloween would also fall on a Saturday, Christmas would be on a Friday, and the New Year would begin with a three-day weekend. Instead of the stars aligning, it seemed as if they ceded from my perceived destiny and altered their course.

When quarantine began, the world was still trying to figure out “What is coronavirus? Is there a cure or vaccine? What do we do? How do we make it better? Where did it come from?” while I was thinking “Is there any way at all to celebrate my sixteenth birthday?”

A day that was supposed to be like no other became memorable in more ways than one…. and not in a good way.

March 19, 2020. I woke up to a room decked out with all sorts of birthday decorations: balloons, streamers, cards, personalized posters, confetti, and birthday presents.

“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Jancy, Happy Birthday to you!” my family gleefully sang.

Even though my birthday celebrations were not as elaborate as they normally are, I still had a fun time celebrating my birthday. I sat out on our porch with my family and we threw a pizza party. To finish off the day’s celebrations, we ate cupcakes from Heaven Scent. The best present I received on my birthday was the presence of my family, safe and healthy, all in one place.


Sophomore year ended abruptly without a caution, a warning, or even a conclusion. No goodbyes, end of year hugs, or yearbook signing for me. Imagine having your high school experience taken and ripped away from you. That is most likely how my peers felt – the sadness, the grief, the loneliness, the boredom, the unanswered questions, the itchy, hot, suffocating masks, the six feet rule, the RONA!

During quarantine, I started writing my feelings, thoughts, wishes, dreams, hopes, and aspirations in my Coronavirus Journal. I kept a count of the Coronavirus cases every week and even the death rates. I am not exactly sure why I kept track of all of this. It seems as though it did increase my stress and anxiety. In the summer of 2020, Coronavirus changed from an epidemic that began in Wuhan, China to a pandemic that spread rapidly across the entire globe, affecting large amounts of people and even afflicting death on those who were too weak to overcome this deadly disease.


What does one normally do with a whole bunch of free time? Play games. Watch TV. Peruse social media. Okay, now a different question. What does one do if they have been quarantined for so long that even playing games, watching TV, and perusing social media is overrated AND you cannot go outside and live normal life because of COVID-19? Here is what I did. I cleaned and organized all of my shoes, created delicious, mouth-watering recipes with my mom, learned to tie dye, researched colleges and universities, read books, binge watched everything on Netflix and Disney Plus, and had driveway parties with my grandparents.


In all, my not so sweet quirky quarantine was bittersweet, yet revealing. I learned more about myself and my resilience. Though the pandemic shut the world down, it did not shut down my enthusiasm and zeal for living life. Though I already knew this, the pandemic reinforced the fact that family is everything and we will survive! Now I guess I’ll be having a sweet six-seventeen party.