If someone had told me at the beginning of the year that I’d get weeks, maybe even months off school, I’d be leaping for joy at the thought of extended vacation. I would have envisioned hanging out with my friends, going out every day, and enjoying the beautiful spring weather. But what I – and millions of people across the globe – didn’t expect was for our lives to mirror that of a 2008 thriller pandemic movie, e.g. Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion. Empty streets, shortages of medical supplies and grocery necessities, violence and discrimination — the era of the coronavirus appears borderline post-apocalyptic. But for the average teenager not diagnosed by COVID-19, they’re most likely self-isolating in their homes. We’re certainly not on a vacation –in fact, far from it. From struggles with remote learning, missing out on opportunities, making memories with friends, sleep schedules, and of course, boredom, see how the prolonged period of self-quarantine is affecting today’s teens.
Z is for Zoom Meetings
Generation Z’s many resources for online schooling include recieving assignments from Google Classroom, learning through Khan Academy, and teachers meeting students through video conferencing platforms like Zoom. Even with the infinite, unlimited access to the internet, remote learning poses a more difficult challenge than students had presumed. By shifting from an educational, focused, familiar environment to their bedroom full of distractions, self-isolation acts as a buffer to the learning process. Self teaching isn’t quite as easy, reading textbooks and watching tutorial videos doesn’t have the same effect as lectures and interactivity with educators. The efficiency of group work and bouncing ideas off others has declined, and with students constantly being bombarded by due dates, it’s a pressurizing and stressful experience overall.
Postponed, Canceled, Heartbroken
Another year, another calendar filled with important events. From the SATs, stadium tour concerts, sports seasons and championships, vacations, and even birthday parties, the big red ‘CANCELED’ sign is forcefully stamped on each one. It’s a necessary precaution, as the health of the human race is at stake, and while these cancellations and postponements aren’t the end of the world, it’s still rather upsetting. I had a Billie Eilish concert that was moved to later this year, what was supposed to be my first ever concert, for my 16th birthday. My friends’ sports seasons have been canceled entirely – the exciting rush of team bonding and winning games were ripped away from thm, just like that. High school juniors are panicking about the SATs and AP testing and opportunities to further push their educational career are gone. Seniors are missing out on what could be their last days of high school. Graduating digitally have been the center of recent memes surfacing on the internet. Light Hearted jokes about ‘downloading diplomas as a PDF’ or ‘press the right arrow to walk across the stage’ are just a few examples. Beloved high school traditions like prom are being canceled or postponed. The very last chances for graduating students to make memories with their friends are gone, just like that, and it truly leaves teenagers with a sharp pang in their heart, the sound of it breaking oh-so resonant.
3 A.M. is the New Midnight
Ah, sleep. Us Gen-Zers have never really been skilled at that particular subject. Bedtimes are scheduled later and later, and we’re slowly becoming like owls and bats – nocturnal. Now, if teenagers slept late when school was in session, imagine how screwed up sleep schedules could become when we’re stuck at home for weeks. Time is merely a concept, and every day feels the same. There’s no solid timetable for each day, and kids are reacting to this constant loop by staying up into the dead of the night. Why? Simply because we can. There’s nothing really stopping us, no thought in the back of our minds that we have to get up at 6 am the next morning. And so, we ignore the clock, it’s not our friend anymore, in fact, it’s irrelevant during this period. Staying up until four in the morning and waking up at noon has become the new norm, and though it’s detrimental to our health, it’s new, creates a sense of thrill and rebellion, something we so desperately crave.
Yeah, We’re Pretty Bored
Bored is an understatement. It feels like our bedroom walls are slowly closing in on us from staring at them too long. With every waking moment spent confined at home and almost little to no social contact, teens are finding new ways to entertain themselves in the midst of self-isolation. Gaming is one of them – from Animal Crossing, to Minecraft, to the Sims, and others, technology truly creates several forms of leisure. Creating TikTok videos, scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube, communicating through text, FaceTime, and Snapchat, are also ways to pass the time. Former hobbies that were abandoned due to lack of time are now being revisited, from painting, drawing, singing, writing, playing instruments, and more. These are also being picked up by people that want to try something new. Baking and cooking are big ones. With the inability to visit the grocery store and favorite restaurants, following recipes to create homemade concoctions and dishes is fairly frequent. Binging TV series and movies is common as well, I finished seven seasons of Gilmore Girls and its revival within our time in quarantine. It’s a good way to get our minds off of the tragedies in the world, creating something new or simply filling ourselves with happiness, entertainment, and positivity is a must. The novel coronavirus is indeed placing us in dark times, with major events being canceled, online school being a burden, and memories being lost, but as Generation Z, the future of the world, we must push through and remember – this too shall pass.