One Moment, Two Perspectives
By Arpitha Sistla & Sarah Zobel
For our submission, we chose to take a picture everyday (6:30 PM EST and 5:30 PM CST) of whatever was around us at the time. One moment, two perspectives.
I look out the window as I study for AP exams. This year, I’ve decided to take 6 exams. As a second-semester senior, maintaining the motivation to study for 6 exams was tough, to say the least, but the possibility of saving thousands of dollars in college was more than enough to motivate me to (hopefully) get 4s and 5s. The fresh blooms of the trees outside were a welcoming change from the dormant nature of the trees throughout the winter. —Arpitha
We brought Louie home on May 2, 2021, the Sunday after the Monday I’d started my new job. It was a not-great time to get a dog, but it just worked out that way. After a month, we decided to adopt him. My husband, who had been calling him Snaggletooth, or ST, all month because of his underbite, named him Louie the Lip. He’s a pretty mellow dog, as dogs go, but definitely likes to be near us. He spends most of his days under my desk or delivering toys for me to toss to him. For some reason, he doesn’t like having his picture taken and often turns away when I pull out my phone, so getting him even in profile is a small victory. —Sarah
This picture was taken on the very first day of a week of daily 3-hour rehearsals for show choir culminating in my last ever performances being Thursday and Friday. Going into this week, I had a lot of mixed feelings. Sure, I felt a bit sad that the last 4 years of making music with people I love were coming to an end. But, I tried my hardest to bask under the purple and blue lights of the stage and make the most out of my last few days rehearsing, taking in how the lights reflected off of my friends and I’s dresses and how they lit up the entire theater. —Arpitha
Monday. Stuck at work.
I really like my job and the people I work with, but my main project since September has been for a California state agency. That means meetings are often scheduled for after 5:00 p.m. my time. And even when there aren’t meetings, I’m often working late, trying to finish things. It’s a change from my last job when I could turn off my laptop by 3:30 or 4:00. On the other hand, I hated my last job. My husband gave me that mug as a joke (I think) for Christmas, but I use it as a reminder to do what it says even at the end of a long day: radiate positive energy. —Sarah
Another picture of the sky. I sent this picture after Sarah sent me a window shot of her entire backyard covered in snow. I thought it was so cool that at the same moment, she was experiencing snow, and I was experiencing sun and clouds. It made me get a little existential—our Zooms often feel like FaceTimes with a friend, but the two pictures really put into perspective how we are separated by many miles, states, and even climates. —Arpitha
Tuesday. Fresh snow in April.
I love Vermont, and there are many wonderful things about living here, but the long winters that often come back with a vengeance when you think you’ve made it to spring are not one of them. I’m sure the snow melted quickly, but still. It felt so bleak at a time when other parts of the country were definitely looking like spring had sprung. —Sarah
Another pic of the stage, this time a bit more blurry. I was so swept up in rehearsal that I almost forgot to take a picture. I think you can see that in the way the band is a little hazy, and the picture as a whole is a little darker and unfocused. It reflects how I was feeling that day, less than 24 hours away from my second to last performance: shaky, anxious, but with a bit of nervous excitement too. —Arpitha
View from my desk of something I’d like to be doing but haven’t in the past year because of too much work. I started teaching myself banjo a couple of years ago. It’s hard to learn things as you get older, especially if you don’t or can’t commit the time to it. Playing banjo was frustrating, but it made me happy, and people always reacted positively when I told them I play—or try to. I was only doing about 10 minutes a day, but even that brief amount has been a victim of my long work days. I could fit it in; I got out of the habit, and it’s hard to bring it back, especially since I wasn’t that great at it. But it makes me happy, and I think it’s important to fit those kinds of things in my days. —Sarah
Sarah’s picture of her banjo inspired me to send this pic of my ukulele. I got this ukulele right before quarantine started, so it’s been my companion throughout the pandemic. How much I play really depends on the week—sometimes I don’t touch it for weeks at a time, and other times I would play it every hour during my Zoom classes. The sensation of strumming my fingers along the hard strings, the wooden frame, and the silver frets actually helped me focus in class, believe it or not. It was a lot more fun for me to listen to my math teacher when I could strum my way along, using his talk about logarithmic equations to serve as lyrics to the strum of my F#. —Arpitha
Thursday. Desk paperweight with lamp reflection.
I don’t really use it as a paperweight; it sits on my desk, and I stare at the bubbles when I’m tired or stuck in a boring meeting. I can’t even remember where I got it, but it allows me to be meditative, and I like it. —Sarah
This picture was taken minutes before my last ever high school performance. It’s taken in the dingy lighting of my high school’s first-floor bathroom—not quite as glamorous as the pretty blues and purples of the other pictures, that’s for sure. I remember being a little frustrated that I couldn’t find water in the vending machine, and the next best thing was the Sprite Zero I’m clutching in my left hand. I messed up a couple of times during the performance because I got a little too in my head about it all, but seeing all my friends cheer for me in the crowd was a wonderful experience. —Arpitha.
Friday. Covidtails with my siblings.
My siblings and I have been meeting in some combination most Fridays at 5:30 or 6:00 for an hour or so since March 2020. We call it Covidtails, and sometimes there are just two of us, and other times there are nieces and nephews. My sisters are in Massachusetts, and my brother is in California, and in some ways, this time has brought us closer than we’ve been in decades. It can also be hard to have more screen time at the end of a long week, but we all recognize that it’s okay to say I can’t make it this week. —Sarah
On the last day of our daily picture correspondence, I chose to take a picture on this drive I took with my dad. I really like how half the trees in this picture are green and lush, and the other half are barren and still dormant. After such a busy and hectic week, it was nice to go on this drive and just look outside at the trees. Living in Missouri, there isn’t that much to look at in terms of scenery. But I’m grateful for the sweet comfort of Midwestern trees, how each tree seems to have a mind of its own, and how the seasons blend into one another with no warning. Reflecting on the fact that I’ll be moving 14 hours away for college, I think to myself: I’ll miss this. —Arpitha
Missed Saturday because that’s how things go sometimes. I often buy flowers at Trader Joe’s; they help me get through the long, gray winters. Arpitha and I did a lot of rescheduling of our virtual get-togethers, because we had busy schedules. I was proud of myself for taking a photo at exactly 6:30 p.m. six evenings in a row, and then, of course, I missed Saturday. It seemed like an apt reflection of our scheduling challenges. Like our meetings, though, it worked out just fine, and something positive came out of it. —Sarah
After attending webinars on topics such as narrative writing and poetry, Sarah and I wanted to create a collaborative piece that combined various aspects of different webinars. Also, we wanted to play on the fact that we often had scheduling issues because of our time zone difference. So, each day at 6:30 her time and 5:30 my time, we shared a picture of what was around us at that exact moment and then compiled a collection of short paragraphs that we wrote that provided background of the pictures. —Arpitha
Arpitha Sistla is a high school senior in Eureka, Missouri. She is a Co-Online Editor in Chief for the Messenger, her school’s newspaper. This will be her 3rd year on staff. Outside of the Messenger, she is a dancer, singer and loves to volunteer. In school, she is involved with Show Choir, Speech and Debate and Mock Trial. In her free time, she enjoys watching YouTube documentaries, traveling and spending time with her friends and family.
Sarah Zobel is a senior writer at Advocates for Human Potential, Inc., and a freelance writer and editor at 582 Communications.