Students share how they’ve been affected by these nine months of isolation
We have all been affected by the nine months of quarantine; it’s undeniable. Whether it drove us insane from being told to socially distance from family and friends or forced us to stare at a screen for more than six hours a day, it seems pretty clear that many are growing tired of this mundane routine.
For some students, it has been a struggle transitioning back into a productive mentality after the extended summer break.
Sophomore Caden Kwon (10) shares how he had lost the need to be productive over the summer. “I was just feeling lethargic and lazy and couldn’t get anything done because I was out of commission and not working for so long,” Kwon explained. “Right before Thanksgiving break, I was falling apart because I was just very burnt out. I was procrastinating a lot, I was just getting really tired, [and] my work wasn’t up to par.”
Online Zoom classes don’t seem to be doing students any better either, only adding to their stress.
Thuyan Nguyenluu (11), a junior taking multiple AP classes, feels as though distance learning has only worsened her mental health. “It’s like everything feels fake and pointless because everything is online. But then there’s this underlying anxiety knowing that I actually have to do something with my time. I actually have to be productive, even though there’s zero motivation to do anything,” she expressed sadly. “Before, I could have just sat in bed all day and do whatever I wanted or talk to my friends and play games. Now it’s just work after work after work. I’m staring at my screen for what, 16 hours of the day? It’s just been super bad for me.”
Grace Liu (11) is also a junior struggling to improve her mental health, as well as keeping up with the workload from her classes.
“Being in quarantine has let me have more time to talk with my friends online, but at the same time I feel removed from everybody. I feel both accompanied and alone,” she sighed. “My lowest point was probably on one weekend, 2 or 3 months into school, when there were quite a few assignments and I just broke down. I felt like everything was scattered and I could barely manage my time well, not to mention my parents’ bothering me about grades and other little things which gradually added loads to my stress.”
Although we have been advised to isolate for the safety of our physical health and the health of those around us, it comes with the cost of our mental health. Despite all of the drawbacks, we can still learn from the impact of these events.
“I had a lot of big plans for this year and I wanted to do a lot of things, but [the pandemic] completely derailed it. And for a while I was just really upset about that. The fact that I couldn’t control anything, the fact that it was completely unexpected out of the blue, and no matter what I did to prepare for it or work towards something ultimately was just inconsequential,” Kwon hummed. Kwon then recalled a book he read in 8th grade called Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and mentioned its underlying message. “What I thought that really taught me is that you can’t predict everything that you see [nor] control anything because what’s going on is so much bigger than you.”
It wasn’t easy enduring quarantine in the past months, but there is comfort in the knowledge that quarantine will eventually end. “So just push through,” Nguyenluu advises. “It’s not going to be fun or pleasant. You’re going to want to delete Zoom from your laptop, you’re going to not want to turn in that assignment at 11:59 pm, but you’re going to have to do it regardless. So just push yourself to do it.”
“The solution isn’t to get all sad or reflect on it negatively,” Kwon stated thoughtfully. “It’s just to learn to adapt to your situation, your environment, and learn to make the best out of anything that you’re given.”