Article By: Katie Jang
Quarantine, for better or worse? The pandemic-induced quarantine has led to a plethora of effects and is regarded strongly by most. Some people feel that this quarantine has bettered their lives, while others believe that it has seriously impaired them.
Emily Johansson, a senior at Santa Rosa High School, said, “I’ve definitely grown a lot as a person since COVID. It’s given me a different perspective and I’ve learned to really appreciate the things I used to take for granted. In that way, I am better off.” Different perspectives and appreciation can be extremely conducive to growth. With all the historical events taking place during this pandemic, it is especially natural to gain these insights.
I would also agree that I feel I have grown a lot, especially with all the opportunities this pandemic has given me to improve and focus on myself. With online classes, I have much more flexibility with my schedule and have found I have more time for hobbies. I’ve picked up baking, painting, and other new hobbies. I’ve also been able to focus more time on working out, playing piano, and exposing myself to new shows, movies, and other media. I’ve also spent more time with my family which I didn’t realize I was missing until the pandemic hit. Altogether, having greater control over the way I manage my time has been beneficial to developing and picking up extracurricular activities. Even so, my appreciation for a lot of things that I used to take for granted, as Emily said, has grown.
On the flip side, as Jenesis said, “I miss the routine school gave me and how much more structured my life was while I was in school. Every day I find myself more and more bored trying to pass time. I enjoy having free time to do some of my hobbies, but I always have extra time that I try to fill. The lack of social interaction and the copious amounts of boredom because I have so much free time has definitely been the worst parts about COVID.”
As an introvert, I personally appreciated that quarantine lifted a lot of social burdens off my shoulders. It could get exhausting going to school every day and having to interact with people. The pandemic, in general, allowed me to appreciate interactions by making them less frequent and more choice-based, but I recognize the harsh side to this in which there are limited options in spending time with people and in the activities you can do. Social events that I was looking forward to have been canceled.
Jenesis, on the topic of social life, said, “I definitely feel worse during COVID. I enjoy the extended free time I have and how I am able to do school from home, but that does not outweigh how much I miss seeing my friends and having normal social interaction. Since COVID, I have only seen my friends a handful of times and I miss hanging out with them every day in and out of school. I wish I could go on adventures with them and enjoy our senior year to the fullest.”
Emily also agreed, saying, “However, with us almost reaching a year to March 13, it’s difficult to realize that as seniors, we are almost done with high school and I still feel like we never even finished Junior year. It’s hard to think about all of the people that I used to talk to every day and now haven’t spoken to in almost a year. So to answer the question, there are some aspects that have made me better during COVID and others that have made me worse.”
Overall, senior Sean Cullens agreed that he feels “like I’ve gotten better in certain aspects and worse in others. I’ve learned how to take care of myself and put myself first, but I’ve also gotten super lazy sometimes. There are moments where I’m super happy, and others where I feel like the world is just gonna end.” Self-care and self-love are definitely some things that I’ve noticed growing in popularity throughout the pandemic. Space and time to take for yourself have been extremely helpful to many people. Personally, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to reflect on myself and felt freer to express myself in new ways without worrying about the immediate judgment that often comes with being in person and such. However, there is the flipside of isolation, discouragement, and limitations, which can amplify a lot of negative emotions as well.
Sean also mentioned that he’s found peace in things that he used to like that he’s found once again. “That may also be because I’m a senior and literally about to become an adult that I’m finding peace in these things but it definitely works. Something that I find difficult is that it’s even harder to find motivation for things like schoolwork cause it’s like, I can either sit at my desk and do schoolwork or go lay in my bed that’s literally right behind me and take my 5th nap of the day.” This is definitely a shared experience. Between senioritis and the pandemic, I know of many people who have reached unprecedented levels of apathy and procrastination.
Overall, everyone felt that they were both positively and negatively impacted by the pandemic, though some felt the pressures more than the benefits. Hopefully, everyone will continue to grow and persist or get the support they need, even while facing new challenges.