Despite the pandemic causing many negative emotions, Reno High senior Fiona Perrault has used the extra time at home to work on her own personal development. For more, Kathleen Leslie of KUNR Youth Media spoke to Fiona about the process of becoming more comfortable with herself and how she honed her creative writing.
Kathleen Leslie: How do you think participating in the KUNR course will help you get out of your comfort zone?
Fiona Perrault: Well, usually what I do every day is I go to the library and I don’t talk to anyone, and then I come home and I don’t talk to anyone, so I think talking to people is actually going to get me out. much more.
Leslie: How have you been able to improve your artwork during the pandemic?
Fiona: I’m a poet. So the poetry is kind of just simmered in your own emotions, and that’s kind of all I could do. And thinking back on it, I’m writing a book right now, and thinking back to some of the previous poems I’ve put in there versus the ones I just put in there, I’m like, ‘Oh, man, c “It’s a really big improvement. And I’m kind of filled with pride every time I see it, like, being able to be open about my emotions.
Leslie: What other ways have you been able to find each other during the pandemic?
Fiona: I think I kind of started being myself shamelessly. I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, so not having to wear a mask around others and how to hide it, and keeping all my thoughts and stuff inside, and just being able to do what I need freely, it was a really big improvement for my mental health, and stuff like that, and being able to find myself.
Leslie: You mentioned that you wanted to be yourself without shame. What other ways have you been able to do this?
Fiona: I kind of stopped apologizing for liking things because before, I was always like, ‘I don’t know this, but I really like this.’ And now I’m like, “No, I like that. This thing is good because I like it,” [and] not having to censor what I think is good because it doesn’t fit other people’s preconceptions of what I should like.
Kathleen Leslie and Fiona Perrault are high school students and classmates of KUNR Youth Media. This report is an excerpt from an interview with peers, which was one of their first assignments for the class. Kathleen reflected on the experience of being able to connect with a classmate about how they are coping during the pandemic:
“Honestly, I found it heartwarming to talk to Fiona. It was nice to know that someone has similar goals to me and that I was able to talk to them about it so openly. I found it very inspiring because reminded me of exactly why I want to improve.
KUNR’s Youth Media program is a special partnership with the Washoe County School District to train the next generation of journalists. In recent years, this program has trained dozens of high school journalists, many of whom have gone on to study journalism or a related field at university. This unique program has also received national recognition from the Public Media Journalists Association in the category of Best Collaborative Effort. You can see and listen to all the work of the students in the program here.