Smile Politely

Dispatches from isolation: May 19th

This column offers a glimpse into how people in C-U are working and spending their time during this stay-at-home order. You can read previous installments here. Have questions, or want to suggest a person for this series? Email us at [email protected].

How are you spending your days in isolation?


Since the stay-at-home order, I’ve struggled because I usually spend around 18 hours at the I-Power School of Gymnastics a week, and now, I don’t get to go out and workout. This stay-at-home order has affected my life a lot because I am not usually at home. I move around a lot between school and the gym, so this is much more difficult.

8 a.m.

A short haired gray and white dog is laid out sleeping on a gray couch. It is laying on a white towel. In the foreground is an out of focus reusable coffee cup with a blue lid. Photo by Elena Reifsteck.

Photo by Elena Reifsteck.

I usually wake up between 7:30 and 8 a.m. I make my way downstairs and make my cup of coffee. Then I sit on the couch with my dog, Moose, until my coffee is finished. I then go up to my room, and play a video game until around 10 a.m., take a shower, and do stretches.

10 a.m.

Photo of a laptop computer screen. On the screen is an online learning platform with various modules for each class. Photo by Elena Reifsteck.

Photo by Elena Reifsteck.

After I get dressed for the day, I do hip stretches to help me get stronger so I don’t injure myself as easily. Afterwards, I usually go back downstairs to grab something to eat before spending about an hour to an hour and a half on my schoolwork.  


Photo of a laptop computer screen. On the screen is the front page for the video game Minecraft. Photo by Elena Reifsteck.

Photo by Elena Reifsteck.

After I do some schoolwork for a while, I go onto Minecraft to play with some of my friends (The Dream Team) who I really miss during quarantine. I get hungry. I go downstairs and make myself some lunch, most of the time it has potatoes in it. After, I go back upstairs, and play more Minecraft until about 1:30 p.m. Although today I had to run some errands with my mom and had to go to the dentist. 

1:30 p.m.

A teenage girl is bending forward at the hips, with hands pressed to the floor. Her blonde ponytail dangles as her body bends forward. She is in a bedroom that is painted bright blue. Photo by Elena Reifsteck.

Photo by Elena Reifsteck.

I finish up on Minecraft, and I get ready for my daily workout over Zoom with my teammates and coach at I-Power. I have to do my hair, and move around everything in my room so that I have enough room to do things like jump and workout. This lasts for an hour, and many times I just sit in my room after. Then, I go back downstairs and grab a snack before my mom makes dinner. 

6 p.m.

A blonde teenage girl stands in front of a stove. In her left hand is a pan with what appears to be ground beef. In her right hand is a spoon. It appears that she is spooning ground beef onto small, flour tortillas. Photo by Elena Reifsteck.

Photo by Elena Reifsteck.

Around 6 p.m., my mom makes dinner, and since quarantine, me, my mom, and my brother all have dinner together which never happens with everyone’s complicated schedules. Tonight, I made dinner because my mom had a lot of work to do. Then after dinner, me and my mom watch some TV (The Mandalorian and Lost) and I usually grab a snack, whether it’s ice cream or something smaller that I had baked in the past week. 

9 p.m.

A gray and white short haired dog is laying on the legs of a person who is under a white blanket. Across a gray couch is a woman looking into the camera holding a glass of wine. The woman is the photographer's mother, Terri Reifsteck. On the left of the image is a teenage boy, who also looks into the camera, but the image has cropped most of his face. Photo by Elena Reifsteck.

Photo by Elena Reifsteck.

By now my mom is too tired to watch more TV so we go up to our rooms. I usually stay up pretty late, and the cycle continues.

Elena Reifsteck is a 15 year-old freshman at Centennial High School and a gymnast at I-Power School of Gymnastics.

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