I’ve lost track of the days. Mondays feel like Fridays and Wednesdays like Sundays. Last Sunday was Easter and I completely forgot about it. My new morning is noon, and I’m not proud to say that my sleep schedule is super messed up. I stay in bed more than I would like, which makes my days go by faster. Being stuck at home has made me look into my old hobbies and also explore new ones. I hadn’t picked up my guitar since school started in the fall, and now I’m learning a new song while improving my technique. The school didn’t give me much time to paint, but now that I’m at home, I have been painting and trying to gain my skills back. This quarantine has given me some extra time to explore different activities as well. Activities such as learning to cook new things other than pasta and meditating, which I’ve learned, is a great stress reliever. I’m trying to do as many things as I can to keep me sane while being stuck at home. Typically I’m not the social butterfly type, but I definitely will be going out more after this is over. This situation has sparked up my OCD and I find myself organizing everything around me and washing my hands constantly. It really frustrates me as I’ve developed patterns for doing things such as turning lights on and off three times every time I enter my room or checking all the doors in my house before going to bed. My mind was always busy while being at school and now that distraction is gone so my OCD keeps getting worse. Having all this time on my hands has also made me realize how little I valued what I had before. I’m talking about things I took for granted like being able to go to school and have a routine, seeing my friends and boyfriend every day, even going out to eat with my family every week. I miss all of that and if I’d known I wouldn’t have it for a while I would have enjoyed it a little more. I find myself scrolling through my gallery and seeing pictures of some weeks ago. I was out eating dinner with my family and at school with friends, before everything went into chaos. I stopped being concerned with the news since the same messages were repeated over and over again. More cases of coronavirus in the area, more deaths, and more people recovering. News channels advising people to stay in their homes. Were not getting any answers as to when this will be over. It became terrifying seeing the numbers of deaths rise, and I’d rather not think about it. That seems really egocentric, but I’d rather not be concerned with how many people are dying and try to continue viewing this as positively as I can. Everyone is dealing with this differently and my way is not focusing on what’s happening with the world at the moment. I’m doing my best to live as normal as possible during this crisis. Even with my family at home, I feel very lonely, so I wish things could go back to the way they were pretty soon.

Itza Dayanara Rodriguez is a sixteen year old born on June 18, 2003 at the Mission Regional Hospital. She considers her upbringing more influenced by her Mexican roots rather than her American ones. At a very young age she was interested in dance and everything related to it, so at the age of three, her parents decided to enroll her in ballet and gymnastics lessons. Since her family was constantly financially struggling at the time, her parents had to take her out of her dance lessons, but made her attend head start a few months later. By the time Itza entered Patricio Perez Elementary she was pretty fluent in spanish so she was moved to an all English class, in which she had to learn the basics of English in just two days in order to start first grade. In the second grade, her parents had become financially stable and Itza moved into a new home. At the age of ten, she experienced the first death of a loved one. Her grandfather passed away the day she went to visit him and she griefed his death for a really long time. It changed her view on what it means to be alive and gave her the inspiration for her future career. Itza attended Ann Richards Middle School, during the sixth grade she was interested in playing the cello but starting seventh she decided to follow her passion for dance and join the drill team. Throughout middle school she was in various UIL activities and in one particular competition held at Jimmy Carter made her interested in going to the early college. Being at Jimmy Carter Early College made a future college education more accessible and allowed her to start her career path early. Freshman year became a new experience for Itza since she began taking college classes, and these were way more rigorous than any of her previous classes. After a year of dealing with phobic anxiety problems she turned to playing the guitar and used music as a way to calm herself during panic attacks. Using dance and music to distract her she was able to control the panic attacks. The first semester of sophomore year went by pretty rough for her but the second semester was much worse. In the second semester she started struggling with her body image and just wanting to fit into the stereotypes built by society and that created a lot of stress. College classes had become more demanding towards the end of the year and her stress wasn't getting any better. To top it all off around this time she separated from her life long best friend over some dumb highschool drama. Now starting junior year Itza wants to focus on loving herself and doing well academically. She plans to raise her college and highschool GPA before the year finishes and get high performing scores in her ACT’s in order to apply for her dream college. She wants to study in a korean university abroad, Seoul National University the number one medical school in that country. All while learning the culture and meeting new and different people to expand her view on the world. Itza wants to obtain a masters in Pediatric Oncology and move back to the valley to build a clinic for cancer patients focusing on kids, she decided to pursue this career due to her grandfather's lung cancer. The clinic will help cure immigrant kids who otherwise would have to seperate from their parents in order to be treated at a hospital upstate or in Mexico. Itza also wants to better herself as a person and become more confident in how she looks and is. She wants to be able to raise her self esteem without relying on anyone else's opinion or approval to accept herself. There is definitely many goals that she wishes to accomplish but feels that it is never clear where life will be taking her, but she hopes that with her hard work she is able to achieve her dreams.

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