May 26: Count on me to tell you how many school days have passed since the start of the 2019-2020 school year

Junior+Hope+Li+%28center%29+gets+her+friends+in+her+sixth+period+Honors+Chemistry+class+to+hold+up+their+fingers+to+signify+the+number+133+on+the+133rd+day+of+school+March+13%2C+in+Room+112.+Li+started+collecting+images+of+a+tally+of+each+day+of+the+school+year+as+a+time+capsule+project+at+the+start+of+the+2019-2020+school+year.+Despite+school+closure+because+of+the+coronavirus+pandemic+announced+that+day%2C+she+has+continued+with+it+through+the+last+day+of+the+spring+semester.

Junior Hope Li (center) gets her friends in her sixth period Honors Chemistry class to hold up their fingers to signify the number 133 on the 133rd day of school March 13, in Room 112. Li started collecting images of a tally of each day of the school year as a time capsule project at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. Despite school closure because of the coronavirus pandemic announced that day, she has continued with it through the last day of the spring semester.

Hope Li

LIVING UNDER THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

This is part of a series of columns from The Accolade staff about their various experiences during the school closure because of the coronavirus pandemic. If you would like to submit some of your experiences, please email us at [email protected].

“Neanderthal skulls were 22 percent harder than our skulls today.”

“See you next year!”

“HAGS!”

“Bye.”

The above messages from my freshman and sophomore yearbooks exist so I can remember.

Through them, I can capture the inside jokes, awkward moments and new friendships I accumulated over a school year, a sort of time capsule.

Even before I became a freshman in high school, I harbored a grand plan of creating a time capsule filled with naive, 13-year-old treasures so I could open it as a mature, 17-year-old graduating senior and smile condescendingly while shaking my head, marveling at my changed values and new experiences.

But I never got to it — not even in my sophomore year.

So at the start of my junior year for 2019-2020, I knew I had to do something. Almost eerily, I had a feeling that I would want to remember this time period more than the others; I thought that something important would happen. Just maybe.

(Disclaimer: I never predicted the coronavirus pandemic.)

I ruled out making a capsule — look how well that turned out — and instead turned to something that seemed more small-scale and manageable: pictures.

To form a running time capsule of junior year, I’ve been taking pictures of myself and other human beings (because last time I checked, I only have 10 fingers) holding up a number of fingers to represent the number of school days that have passed.

From the start, I wasn’t consistent and skipped a day or two, but I started to get the hang of it and bolstered confidence to ask my classmates and teachers to join me on my quirky project, even Photoshopping myself into an image when I forgot to take the picture that day.

But around the 27th day of school on Sept 18, 2019, I began to have doubts about this new scheme.

None of my other friends do things like this. I’m probably annoying them every time I ask them to hold up a certain number of fingers just so I can remember one school day. What’s so important about school days anyway? Every day is the same, and there’s nothing memorable about that.

Despite the growing temptations to abandon my project, I continued taking my photos and to my surprise, even received compliments from my peers who told me it was cool and interesting that I kept a running tally of what day of school it was (I know no one asked, but May 26 — the day I finished writing this — is the 176th day of school).

By the 88th day on Jan. 7, I felt no reason prevented me from stopping. I had just lived through the next decade! History! Important! Remember!

But 20 days later, I stopped asking my friends and teachers to help me; instead I resorted to doing it myself and only asking for my family members to help me when I needed it.

Nothing at school is interesting enough, I told myself. Nothing memorable or important enough.

On Friday, March 13, the Fullerton Joint Union High School District sent out an email after fifth period informing us that it would be our last day of on-campus learning, and distance learning would begin the following Monday (that eventually changed to the following Wednesday to give teachers two extra days to prepare for the transition).

I never thought this virus could affect me in California, but shockingly, it did.

That day, the 133rd of school, I pushed my self-consciousness aside to ask my friends in my sixth period Honors Chemistry class to take one last picture together. We plastered smiles on our faces, hiding our anxiety of the unknown, not knowing when we would next hug each other or see one another without relying on a pixelated screen and Wi-Fi connections.

I regret not taking the opportunity of seeing my teachers every day and taking pictures with them. Forget the awkward spiel of explaining how I don’t have enough fingers to express the 101st day of school; I never got to take pictures with two of my six teachers this entire year.

But I do remember the Hope that ignited this whole time-capsule-turned-social-experiment.

I remember how convinced she was that junior year would be a roller coaster itching to be recorded. I don’t even know how I could have predicted that these photos would record a historical time of the coronavirus panic and pandemic.

But 137 pictures, three videos and a couple of miscellaneous school pictures later, I’m still recording images. Instead of walking around campus, I’ve used Zoom and Google Meet to recruit helping hands like on May 12, the 167th day of school.

I know school’s out in two days, so I’ll take a shot of the 177th and 178th day of school, too.

Whether I scan these photos reminiscently as a freshman in college or astonishingly as a 30-year-old woman, I hope the emotions tied to this collection of images won’t be severed but welded.

So in the words of multiple yearbook signatures I’ve gotten over the years: “Have a great summer!” I’ll definitely be counting on it.