Parker Knippa


Parker Knippa

Parker Knippa, Rhetoric & Composition Student

I have watched the coronavirus spread and affect a lot of people. In the beginning, I never thought it would become such a life-changing event in my life. This pandemic will be talked about for a very long time. I had little to no fear that the virus would do anything to my daily life. Overall, this virus has been a very devastating time for me and a lot of people. I have had many changes in my life due to coronavirus.

Senior Year

As a senior in high school, I have always wished that school would just get over with as soon as possible. I never thought it would actually be taken away from me. I did not think my last day of high school would really be it. I went home early on my last day for no reason. I wish I could go back and walk through the halls one last time and say goodbye. I have been wanting to skip the rest of high school for a long time, but I never thought it would be gone so fast. I heard the teachers talking about how the virus would actually get us out of school, but I never thought it would actually happen.
I find it really upsetting that my senior year had to be cut short. I am going to miss seeing everyone I talked to in all of my classes. I could not even say goodbye to those people or my teachers. The other seniors and I all pretty much thought that we would come back to school at some point. Now we are worried about prom, graduation, and college visits. I never would have thought my high school experience would end like this.
Chester High School is trying to help the seniors as much as they can. The staff of Chester High is doing many different activities for the seniors. These activities include stuff for the yearbook just for us, podcasts, posting where we plan to attend college, and many other things like that. All of this stuff is very nice, but it still doesn’t help the sadness about losing senior year that most of us have.


I have been struggling to make a decision on where I would go to college for a long time now, as many seniors are. This virus has made a real impact on my thoughts towards certain colleges. I finally made my decision recently to go to the University of Alabama. I have never visited the campus or the state of Alabama. I had plans to go on college tours there and some other places, like Louisiana State University, DePaul University, or Ole Miss. I can no longer visit my future college because of COVID-19. I am hoping that I will really like the campus and Alabama itself.
The University of Alabama has already announced that its fall orientation would be online for this semester. I have been looking forward to seeing the campus and being able to learn my way around a little before actually being a student. I was also hoping that I could meet my roommate before actually having to live with her. I really do fear that the first semester will be online classes. I will be extremely upset if that actually happens. I have been looking forward to moving away for a very long time, and I do not want that to be pushed back.

My Daily Life

COVID-19 has impacted my daily life in many ways. I have isolated myself from many people, as stay-at-home warnings tell us to do. “It’s all part of an effort to do what epidemiologists call flattening the curve of the pandemic. The idea is to increase social distancing in order to slow the spread of the virus so that you don’t get a huge spike in the number of people getting sick all at once” (Godoy). My routine had been almost completely altered from what it was a month and a half ago. I used to do many things throughout the day that I can no longer do. These things include: hanging out with friends, going to work, going out to eat, and going to the gym. Amid the stay at home order, I only really leave my house to go on walks or runs. The virus has really changed my routine.
I have been journaling my daily life for a chemistry assignment daily. An excerpt of this daily journal follows:
17 year old female
Was in contact with mom, step dad, and a friend
Went to the track with friend, tried but failed keeping distance
Washed hands a lot and used hand sanitizer
Had a bagel for breakfast, pizza for lunch, and salad for dinner
Slept 10 hours (my sleep schedule is extremely messed up. I go to bed at 5 wake up at around 2 every day)
Taryn’s stepdad came in contact with someone who tested positive, and I came in contact with him a few times in the past week
I heard they are going to shut the bridge down to stop spreading to MO, which I do not believe because it is not in any articles or anything”

This journal has us include: what we did that day, how we prevented the virus, what we ate, how much we slept, if anyone we knew had it, and any news we heard that day and if we believed it.
I would go to my job at Joe’s Pizza almost daily before the virus. Because of the virus, my mom and I decided it would be best if I stopped working for a little bit (like many other employees did) to avoid me getting the coronavirus. I had worked there for a little over a year. The owners chose this to be an excuse to fire me and Taryn Baker. I found this as very unprofessional. I am now unemployed, which is not very fun.
The way my classmates and I have dealt with homework has almost completely changed. I can no longer see my teacher face-to-face, I see them through a screen. I have personally changed how I learn because we are forced to learn online. Homework seems to be participation in most classes, which has caused students to not even try and pay attention to what they are being taught. “A new study out of Kent State suggests a specific reason for the problems plaguing online coursework: multitasking. In a survey of 452 undergraduates at public universities in the American Midwest, researchers confirmed “significantly greater multitasking behavior in online versus face-to-face courses.” Students enrolled online reported higher rates of texting, emailing, checking in with online social networks, watching videos — none of these activities related to class — while also playing video games and listening to music” (McWilliams), I feel like I am not getting the same opportunities to learn online rather than in school.
The coronavirus has affected my social life in many ways. I can no longer just leave my house and head over to a friend’s house. The only way I can see my friends is over a phone call or text. I see how social distancing is helping the spread of the virus, but I am really missing the way it was before the virus. I used to see my friends almost every day, now I have not seen most of them in weeks. I can really feel my friendships distancing away, and there is nothing I can do to change it.

Lives Around Me

Almost every single life around me has been changed because of the coronavirus. I never would have expected that something like this could come along and affect so many people. I remember seeing the virus grow in China and places around there, but I never thought it would be in my town. I have watched it grow, especially when it hit Gilster-Mary Lee. “Over the past few weeks, some 50 employees at the company’s Chester headquarters either tested positive or were quarantined due to showing possible symptoms of COVID-19, or because they had been around someone in the office with a confirmed case or symptoms, Tom Welge said. He had only been released from isolation due to his own COVID-19 diagnosis for a few days when his father passed away” (Parker). The spreading of the virus really seemed to expand after employees of that company started to test positive for it.
The person’s life around me that has changed the most is my grandmother, Dorothy Middendorf. She currently lives in a nursing home. She cannot have any contact with the outside world. Before the virus, she was usually at casinos or hanging out with her friends. For her 91st birthday last week, I was not even allowed to see her. The only way that anyone can see her is through a glass window. I really hope her lockdown gets lifted soon so I can see her.
My sister, Rachel Broaddus, has also had her life completely changed due to the virus. She lives in Chicago. She told me that the city has seemed like it has completely changed. She barely sees anyone in places that were very populated with people before the virus. Rachel is having a really hard time with being in quarantine. She is a vegan, so it is really difficult for her to continue her diet without being able to go to the grocery store for ingredients. Rachel only really leaves her house to go on runs. She gets food delivered to her every day. I have been checking on her almost every day to make sure she is okay.
My mom, Jill Knippa, is a bartender. She has not been able to go to work for a couple of weeks. She is struggling very hard to pay bills. I am finding it very difficult to watch her struggle through this hard time. She works in Missouri, and they are lifting their stay-at-home order. “All Missouri businesses and social events will be allowed to reopen next week as long as residents and business owners continue to practice proper social distancing requirements, Gov. Mike Parson announced Monday” (Stafford). I hope she can go back to work and be successful very soon.

My Fear

I have had many fears about the virus. I have watched it grow and affect many people, including people I know. At the beginning of this virus, I had almost no fear that it would actually come anywhere close to me. It truly is scary how widespread it has actually become. “As some researchers say deaths could rise significantly in the coming weeks, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States has topped 1 million and the death toll has surpassed the total of US troop fatalities during the Vietnam War. As of Tuesday evening, there are more than 1,012,000 people in the United States who have or have had the virus, according to a tally from health officials by Johns Hopkins University. At least 58,356 people have died” (Chavez). I cannot even fathom how far large this has spread.
Hearing people constantly talk about how terrible the virus is has created a large fear of mine. I know I most likely would not die, but hearing a constant talk on the news about how serious it is is very scary. The most terrifying part of it all is that I could have the virus, and not know I do, but spread it to my friends and family. “We know that up to 80% of COVID-19 cases exhibit mild symptoms. Complicating matters, pulmonologist Joseph Khabbaza, MD, says symptoms may sometimes not be evident for up to two weeks. And because those non-specific symptoms (fever, sore throat, cough, diarrhea) can mirror other more common illnesses like the flu or a cold, many of those infected — especially early in the outbreak — didn’t realize they were carrying the virus” (“No Signs of Coronavirus?”). I really fear that I have it or have had it and did not know.

Works Cited
Chavez, Nicole. “US Coronavirus Cases Surpass 1 Million as Projections Show Deaths Could Rise in Coming Weeks.” CNN, Cable News Network, 28 Apr. 2020,
“No Signs of Coronavirus? Here’s Why You Could Still Be Carrying (and Spreading) It.” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 4 Apr. 2020,
Godoy, Maria. “Flattening A Pandemic’s Curve: Why Staying Home Now Can Save Lives.” NPR, NPR, 13 Mar. 2020,
McWilliams, James. “The Downside of Online Learning.” The Week, 19 Apr. 2019,
Parker, Molly. “Rural Randolph County Has One of the Highest COVID-19 Infection Rates in Illinois. Here’s What Happened.” The Southern, 18 Apr. 2020,
Stafford, Margaret. “Missouri Will Reopen Businesses Monday, with Guidelines.” AP NEWS, Associated Press, 27 Apr. 2020,