Hi. This is Jen Landis. And today we're gonna be talking to Grace, she is a junior in high school. We're still in our COVID-19 lovely period, so we're talking on zoom about how it is to finish school online, trips that she's done and much more. So here we go.
Hi, Grace. How are you?
I'm good. How are you?
Good. Thank you so much for asking. How have you been during this COVID-19 craziness?
There's been ups and downs, for sure those days when I don't want to do anything, but I don't know. I'm trying to finding silver lighting's because I know I have a better than some people. And so I want to make the most of this time and use my downtime well.
Good. How old are you right now? What grade are you in?
I'm 17 and I'm a junior in high school.
How does it feel, not completing your junior year in high school are having to do it online?
Really strange. It's really strange. I'm happy that I'm not a senior because that's just a lot of sentimental moments and milestones that I'd be missing out on, but it still is not fun. Like missing out on seeing the people that I care about and doing all those things, especially end of the year things.
So what's it like doing your homework online?
It's really weird having to be self taught because I am a very interactive learner, so it's kind of hard to not have people in a classroom to bounce things off or confirm my understanding. But, yeah, it's been on a learning curve, but it's okay,
So how do you keep yourself positive when you're looking for the silver linings? What do you do, or do you have any tips that you can give us?
I think the thing that helped me the most is staying active. And so I've been doing yoga, been going on walks and getting outside and that has definitely helped my mental state.
Yeah, I follow you and your mom on Instagram and I see a lot of headstands.
Yeah, we have been doing a lot of headstands.
Is that something that you have done before? Or is that a new thing?
I've done it once before at a yoga class, but I've never really knew what I was doing and so I was like, I'll get better at this, I'll take this time to get better at this.
What other things are you doing that you wouldn't normally have done during this?
So, I really like art and like, I'm not great at it, but I just enjoy it, and it helps me get my thoughts together. But I felt like when I was in school every day, especially with swim, because I would be at school early and at school late, so I was there for 10 hours a day. I had huge creative blocks and also not any energy to put towards things for myself. And so it's really nice that I have time and space, mental space to create things.
What kind of things have you been creating? Paintings or drawings?
Yeah, paintings and drawings. And I've also, like, gone back into playing my guitar, which is rough.
Cool. Yeah, so there is a girl that I was talking to, who also loves to to paint and draw and wants to be an artist, but she just doesn't want to start because she thinks she's bad at it. What advice would you give her from your shoes...kind of feeling the same way but getting through it anyway, or trying?
I think a lot of people get stuck thinking that the first draft has to be the final product and that's just not how it works. Or they think that it has to be never been done before, or something totally original and unique and new and perfect. I think when I make art, at least I just think about how I'm feeling and I want to portray that visually and so you have to strip away what your expectations are and then just go based on how you're feeling.
Yeah, when I paint or draw, I usually do like a little bit of a meditation beforehand and just like ask my creative angels to come inspire me and I just put myself in front of my painting or work, and it's almost turns into a meditation. The inspiration just starts coming once you get physically into a place where you're ready to draw or paint. So it's finding time to try, it's a lot of fun.
You were doing swimming, obviously, that's on hold, probably right? You were at school for 10 hours a day because of all the practices? What did you typical day look like?
So I would get up at 5:00am. And just basically go to school in my pajamas and then go swim and getting a cold pool at 6 a.m. and then get ready at school and then have my school day and then after school, go swim for another two or three hours and then go eat and do homework and go to bed and then wake up and do it again.
Do you miss it, though? Or right now are you enjoying the break?
I miss it. I first I was like, ok, I'm I'm done with that. But I don't know. I really miss my teammates. And I missed my coaches and I missed having consistency in many days. And I'm like trying to do that as much as I can, but I don't know.
So what stroke do you swim?
So I am a distance swimmer. I do the 500 free. That's my thing.
How many laps is that?
20 laps back and forth. So one, two.
And so how long does that take you? Oh, I like if you weren't in a race, like if you were just practicing.
Just like, like, a little under seven minutes.
Oh, for that long.
Okay. I was thinking it was a like hours, I know it would take me hours.
Yeah. It's kind of crazy. A lot of people are like why do you want to do that? I don't know.
What got you into wanting to do that?
It's very like, peaceful for me. My favorite practices of the ones where we just swim continuously for a long time.
What do you think of when you're swimming for that long and underwater and just there by yourself?
It's like it's very therapeutic. I definitely helps me come to terms with my emotions and get them out.
Yeah, I could imagine you gotta kind of like in your own bubble, in your own little space. And you know, your body is moving and exercising and your mind is clearing itself out. Sort of like journaling, you know, another exercise for your mind. What are other activities are into besides swimming in yoga and art? So you belong to any organizations?
I am The PR for my school's feminist program are like Feminist Club. And so, yeah, I'm pretty big activist. So that's kind of what takes up the rest of my time.
What do you do in that role for that club?
I communicate with other clubs and help organize events and do like social media and like social presence and stuff for the club.
What's the name of the of your instagram handle?
FeministForChangeLHS. I send it to you.
Cool. I'll follow it. What are you currently working on with the group?
So it's kind of funky because of everything that's going on, but we had been working towards planning the... like we were gonna be one of the hosts for the women's march, but that didn't really happen. But we do a lot of tampon drives and bra drives, and we work with other clubs just to promote awareness for different issues.
Something that our club is really adamant about is being all encompassing in feminism and not exclusive towards LGBT, people are like people of color...anyone could be a feminist. So that's something that we focus on the lot.
Are there any males in the group?
That's cool. You also like to travel quite a bit. I was going through your Instagram feed and there's lots of hikes in waterfalls and stuff.
Do you travel quite a bit, or have you traveled quite a bit?
I have traveled quite a bit the past two years. It's been kind of crazy.
Where is the coolest place you've been?
Oh, probably Italy. Yeah, it really was beautiful.
And do you go with school or your family?
I went that trip was a school. Yeah.
Hopefully you went before all the COVID stuff hit.
Yeah, that was last summer.
When you do travel, are you kind of a go out and walk around... or see art museums... or all of the above?
Yeah, all the above. It's a balance. Something that I like to do is get to know the place and the culture cause everywhere you go has a different norm and like culture about it. And it's really interesting to just submerge yourself in that, even if it's like California. But it is totally different from Nebraska, you know?
Do you have an experience or a learning that you brought back from a trip that has influenced you still?
I have got to go to Guatemala twice on service trips with my church group. But, we basically just go to build houses and help the people there, we don't really do like the like push Christianity or anything like that. Something that I've learned from that is...it's definitely helped me be less materialistic in a way, I've learned to be happy with what I have. I'm thankful for the people around me and not just what they could do for me, but just them as people and that's been big...and also language barriers, that doesn't matter. We're all people, you know?
Well, it's sounds cool. Did you meet anyone your age or some of the kids down there, while you were there?
Most of the kids that we met were younger, like elementary school age.
And so what are they going through right now? What's the overall vibe? And what kind of needs do they have?
So it's basically just that their government is kind of funky right now. It's not the best. And so what they're struggling with is ...I don't want to say something that's incorrect because I haven't been updated on the information...but the last time when I was there, there was unjust government and just a lot of problems.