Charlotte ¨Charlie¨ Hickman´s childhood was often regulated by her parents in many ways. If anything, she was used to structure, but the dramatic shift the COVID-19 pandemic created for the world changed that notion.
(Pictured left: Charlotte Hickman at the beach, one of her favorite places to travel.)
Charlotte grew up in the public eye as well as under the watchful eye of her parents. Her mother was a national journalist, author, and ¨Mommy Blogger¨ online and through YouTube for most of her elementary life, receiving the most attention for her blog and home videos.
Her father, though not restrictive in a public way, still set limitations on her home habits. Television and other media was a large factor in this, as Charlotte was not allowed to watch Disney Channel or ¨anything live action with lockers¨ as her dad would say. This of course didn’t stop her from secretly watching the early 2000´s Bratz movies beneath her blankets at night with the subtitles on.
Charlotte was well adept at structure and rules (and how to get around them), but nothing could have prepared her for how COVID would change the structure of her life. Three quarters of the way through her 7th grade year, at the start of the first lockdown, schoolwork and practice which had once come easily was now a struggle to stay motivated for. Charlotte spent her entire 8th grade year in virtual learning with little to no class structure. Everything seemed to change, from the way she learned to the way she participated in her passions.
(Pictured right: Charlotte in her band uniform.)
A well practiced trombone player for her school bands, Charlotte looked forward to playing her 8th grade year, but got very little opportunities to do so. Mandatory practice times were few and far between, and did not seem to be prioritized by the school. The flexibility of virtual learning made it difficult to focus and created a habit of procrastination. When asked how she balances her school life she laughed and said ¨I don´t!¨; a statement many students can relate to.
Now, going into her first year of high school as a Freshman at Central back in-person, she is still trying to find her groove. “It´s a lot to go from sitting in your room with your cat in your pajamas on a zoom meeting to this” she says, and that goes for everything. Trombone had always been an outlet that she could confide in, but the lack of practice over the past year has made it harder to understand the material. “In theory” she understands the material but being out of shape with it makes it more difficult to “actually do”.
(Pictured left: Hershey the cat and Nemo the dog)
Charlotte is slowly getting back into the swing of school and is looking forward to this year. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, she is still doing the things she loves, like playing music, reading books, spending time with her lovely cat, Hershey, and dog, Nemo, and advocating for her fellow peers in critical issues like women’s health and reproductive rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, and COVID safety.
Though most mistake her for being shy, she’s actually very social and friendly, just a bit of an introvert. “Introvert and shy are not the same thing. I like to talk to people, I have plenty of friends, I just also like to read.” Anytime you see Charlotte with her nose in a book, don’t hesitate to say hello, she’ll have more to say than you think.