Blog Post

Family is the one constant in life – even through a pandemic – so don’t take it for granted  

Growing up, I always took this childhood quote lightly. I was a normal kid who would get grounded for talking back, dreaded doing my chores, and hated eating my vegetables. Normal right? Little did I know, my family's love went deeper than I could ever understand at such a young age.

By Nicole Tidwell, senior, Intrepid College Prep Independence Academy

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of first-person essays written by local high school students about their experiences going to school and living life during a global pandemic.

“Being in a family means receiving so much love that it gives you enough strength so that nothing in the world can break it.” – Unknown 

Growing up, I always took this childhood quote lightly. I was a normal kid who would get grounded for talking back, dreaded doing my chores, and hated eating my vegetables. Normal right? Little did I know, my family’s love went deeper than I could ever understand at such a young age. 

Covid-19 continues to take everything we know and shift it into something we’ll never have again. It attempted to do that with my family as well. The virus itself had no affect on us but the time spent in quarantine only got harder as time went on and tragedy hit. My grandpa was diagnosed with cancer in September and I’ve never felt so much love in a group of people than those I am lucky enough to call my family. My family isn’t defined by what’s happening, we’re defined by the infinite love and unity we hold that nothing has been able to take away from us. 

It feels so cliche to sit here and type that my family is my biggest blessing in life but if I didn’t say it then I wouldn’t be telling the complete truth. 

Just last month, before fall break, I was having one of the hardest days of my entire high school experience – at least that’s what it felt like. Online school has made these difficult moments in the school year even more difficult as us students are given countless assignments on a school website and the only access to help from teachers is through a screen. In these last few months it’s easy to feel  as though school consists of me teaching myself everything I needed to know. I had over 10 assignments due at once and I only had a few days to complete them, so the emotions I was feeling as I quickly rushed from one assignment to the next were excruciating. It’s an awful feeling to feel as though you just can’t understand something by yourself, and it really begins to eat at your confidence until there’s barely any positive thoughts in your head. I questioned the point of it all and allowed myself to doubt how capable I was as a student. I’m normally the last person who would sit down and wallow in negativity but what was I supposed to do when I felt like the world was closing in on me? 

I rushed downstairs to eat dinner with my family, like we try to do every night, as my mind was flooded with all the things I had to do repeating in my mind. We finished dinner and something inside me made it impossible for me to stand up. It was almost like the universe just knew that if I told my family what was going on then everything would be alright. As I sat there at the table while everyone else was getting up, my grandma looked at me and could immediately read all over my face that I wasn’t okay. She came over to my side of the table and asked what was on my mind but, being the hard headed teenager I am, it took a few pushes before everything in my mind started to pour out. 

As soon as I told my grandma all I was stressed about and all I was afraid of, do you know what she did? She hugged me. I immediately relaxed and tears streamed down my face as I was finally able to just take a breath of air that I didn’t even know I needed. The familial comfort allowed me to feel safe in my own space and gain a little more positivity back that had been vanishing the second an overload of assignments would come in. It pushed me to believe in myself again and force myself to sit down and do every assignment to the best of my ability because I realized nothing could go wrong if I just tried. I knew that if I just got my assignments done then I’d be able to have more calm moments just like the one I had with my grandma. 

Sometimes ripping the bandaid off and getting things done can help a lot more in the long run than allowing yourself to get caught up in everything you have no control over. Family knows you better than anyone, even if you think they don’t understand you. It is the one bond that is guaranteed to be forever and also one that will fill you with more love and hope than you knew possible. I think it’s easy to doubt that bond as life throws you curveballs but I also think it’s easy to be reminded that they’re willing to walk down that difficult road together hand in hand. 

Nicole Tidwell is a senior at Intrepid College Prep Independence Academy. She has devoted her time to family and preparing for the future after high school. She is a member of the first graduating class of her high school and is ready for what life may throw her way.

Other Posts
About the Nashville Charter Collaborative

For charter public schools in Nashville with a track record of high achievement and high growth, the Nashville Charter Collaborative offers their leaders a structure to work together on areas of shared need, such as professional development and recruitment of high-quality teachers. Collectively, we believe that education transforms lives and that every child in Nashville has the right to a high-quality public education.In the fall of 2018, the Collaborative formalized as a program of the Tennessee Charter School Center to provide member schools with an official structure to continue growing their work together.