COVID-19 was the most unexpected surprise that came with the 2020 decade. No one could’ve expected the trauma and lives that would be lost due to this disease, and the schools, stores, and companies that would have to shut down to prevent the spread. With these shutdowns came almost complete isolation from friends, coworkers, and some family members. Self-isolation has made me realize how important my relationships outside of my own household are to my life and my mental health. At school, I get to see people that I wouldn’t normally spend time with after hours, but my interactions with them affect my days and my mood. In self-isolation, I am unable to directly communicate with those people, and my emotions have dropped drastically. Online school has also been a challenging change of pace, as well as the effect of social media during this time. With our ever-changing world, we have to adapt in order to keep up with the acceptable rules and guidelines that our leaders enact upon us.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, I never considered how important my everyday interactions were to my life. The teachers and classmates that I would have conversations with during my school day would determine my mood and emotions for the entirety of my day. Without those interactions, I have noticed that I have been much more tired and less talkative. I tried to text and call my friends to make up for this lost time, but it still isn’t the same. In-person communication is essential to every person’s life and is necessary for good mental health.
As a visual learner, presentations and videos are key to my learning experience. With school being online, I am no longer able to learn in that way. I have done my best to adapt and deal with online schoolwork and video calls with my classes; however, learning in this way is not anywhere near as productive as being present in an actual class. Keeping my grades up is another challenge that I have faced at home and I think that I’ve been able to keep up with my assignments as of right now. My teachers have been incredibly helpful with my online work and I am very grateful for their contributions to my learning experience.
Social media has considerably been the most frustrating aspect of this entire experience. In normal, everyday life, it can be extremely toxic and hurtful toward certain groups of people, and that toxicity has only increased due to the coronavirus. It is very disappointing to see people that you know gathering in large groups amid this virus. I can understand the need for direct communication, but I cannot justify the selfish reasoning that comes with large gatherings. Going against the recommended self-isolation not only puts your life in danger, but many others as well. Social media has become the center of photos and videos that practically encourage breaking isolation.
COVID-19 has limited our in-person interactions at the current moment, and has suspended some of the emotions that we would typically feel talking to a friend face-to-face. It has also affected our work and school lives, and the assignments that we produce have undoubtedly changed in pace and quality. Social media’s role in this quarantine has been positive and negative; the positive being that we can easily communicate with our classmates and friends, the negative being that we are tempted to spend time with those people outside of our homes. Despite all these difficulties, we must move forward and adapt to the changes in our everyday lives that the coronavirus has caused.
Share your own story here. Sharing stories is a powerful way to connect with other people. Be part of the Teen Health & Wellness Personal Story Project—like Charlee did above—and share your story about successfully dealing with or overcoming a challenge.