Making the Most of Time at Home – A teenager’s view on COVID-19

I remember walking to my chemistry class about a month and a half ago, feeling stressed, and counting the days ‘till Easter break. This is….or was….or would have been…. a crucial year for me, as subject selection was around the corner, and the workload was becoming overwhelming and increasingly difficult – raising anxiety and stress among students in my year.

There are….or were…some highlights of my school (as there always are) – like talking, laughing, dancing and debating among friends at lunch, taking part in sports after school, and strangely, but not so strangely, finding comfort in the frustration and fatigue others face as you go through your academic journey together – things we all took for granted, not realizing the value of the day to day socialization and strong friendships that are crucial to our development, and oftentimes our sanity.

And yes, we have online classes, we call and text, but still, it feels as if the world has stopped. – As if we’re cut off from… not only our friends, but the natural routine of our lives that we’ve grown to love and hate, but appreciate in every aspect. We miss the eccentric energy of passionate discussion, the mindless conversations that defined the bonds we built, the youthful community we helped to form, the small actions or statements that made our days, and the high levels of stress that brought the students together.

Now, online learning platforms have proven to be both efficient and convenient in the sharing of not only academic related information, but music classes, ballet classes, art classes, just to name a few. Yes, we receive the content, and we may (and I said may) grasp the concept, but there is a way in which face-to-face interactions and inclusive discussion in person, register the lesson more concretely. Being together in a classroom, or dancing together in a choreographed piece have so much more meaning
when we can actively, and interactively understand, inquire and be corrected in the moment, when our minds and hearts are open to what’s being shared.

This is not a time, however, to give up hope, or to succumb to the loneliness that seems to be shadowing your thoughts and blinding you from what’s actually achievable. I know it’s not easy to be stuck in your house all day, seeing the same faces, making the same routine trips from your laptop, to
the fridge, to your phone, to your bed, and back again.

Take a break from classes for a moment. Let Netflix wait for just a second. Call up a few friends and have a good laugh. Think about what you’ve been
wanting to do personally for a long time (that can be done at home of course!). Maybe start taking better care of yourself, eat healthier, creatively express yourself, learn how to do something really cool (You can find ANYTHING on Youtube), maybe call your estranged grandma, learn a new language, exercise more often – There’s so much to do when you actually open your eyes and see what the world has to offer. The internet is a huge platform – so much information is at your fingertips. Use it to your
advantage.

Of course, this is a great time to catch up on stuff you may have missed in that math class (you know what I’m talking about), or take some time to understand what that Biology teacher was saying. As I said, the world is at your fingertips. School’s not out, don’t take this time for granted. Having a good academic background is essential and extremely beneficial to your future, but remember that you’re more marketable with a skill or unique talent, so ensure that you take time to develop yourself doing something that you love!

Also, if you want to make a difference in the world, start in your community, let your voice be heard. Spread awareness and hope to those who will hear it via social media. (So when your mom walks up and
asks, “You’re always on that phone! What are you doing?” You can say that you’re spreading hope and awareness like the good citizen you are!) Millions of our doctors, delivery personnel and other essential workers are on the front lines and are at higher risk than anyone else. Let’s keep them, and the victims of the virus in our prayers as we and our leaders fight COVID-19.

Remember to stay home, stay happy and stay hopeful!

-Nia-Ashley Harris

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