Alina Susani

Progress: Jungwoo Park

Every morning, junior Jungwoo Park walks the short distance from his home to his school. Some mornings, like this one, he runs. He makes it to his first class, chemistry, with no time to spare. 

During the day, he drifts from class to class. He talks to people, and when he’s free he works or watches YouTube.
After years of playing video games, he recently decided to uninstall everything. He felt like they were distracting him from his school work. 

“I just felt kind of bad about the way I was living my life,” he said.

School ends, and he goes to swim practice. He isn’t in the shape that he wants to be, but he’s improving. He stopped going last year because of his grades, but he’s doing better in school now.

The last year had been hard. His grades had dropped, and he’d been isolated. He had started sleeping on a couch in the basement, never well. 

The only thing he’d kept up with during the pandemic was violin practice. Now he takes the Metra every Saturday to the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra for a two-and-a-half-hour rehearsal. He also practices for 30 minutes as often as he can throughout the week. It’s a way for him to express himself, and he likes that. He’s good at it too, which helps.

A lot of the time he just wants to grow up. Leave where he is now, go to college, get a job and start his real life.
Rehearsal ends, he goes home and eats with his parents. After, he starts his schoolwork due the next day in his room. He stays up later than he should. He’s sleeping better these days, but not as well as wants to be.

He’s improving, and that’s all that matters.

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