COVID-19 has turned all sense of normality upside-down, and reality, as we know it, has ceased to exist - for some more than others. One of the most adversely impacted groups has college students, teens who are supposed to “live the best years of their lives” glued to the screen (a privilege for many) stuck in a four-wall room. Being at the end of my teen years myself, I went around the world (virtually, don’t worry) to my friends in universities and colleges in the US, UK, and Canada aside from India to understand how they are dealing with the pandemic. Read along to see what teens have to say about dealing with coronavirus and the “stay at home” season -
1. Empowering Friendships Virtually: It is safe to say for teens across the world, knowing that everyone their age is going through the same thing. Maintaining old friendships and bonding online over new friendships is one of the main ways teens have been getting through the monotony of isolation. From Netflix Party to “Are you okay?” calls, friends have each other’s back.
2. Creating Physical Spaces & Mental Compartments: While this is not limited to just college students, this is one of the greatest skills they have developed, especially due to long hours being on the screen, aside from the heightened use of social media and technology. Although the idea of attending online classes from the bed sounds tempting, college students have realized it is important to have different physical places - a working setup; a relaxed setup for the brain to understand what kind of tasks can be done where. Additionally, being able to take time to switch off, get some mental peace and be in the real-life has been an important lesson for teens.
3. Hobbies - New or Old: As a teen, between handling academics, maintaining a meaningful social life, and experiencing life, often kids miss out on doing what they enjoy just for themselves. Many of my friends have taken their dust-covered guitar from their cupboard or revived their sketchbooks from the bottom of their drawers and even started new hobbies. Most teens would say it is definitely a stress-buster and gives them an opportunity to explore their creative side.
4. Spending Quality Time with Family: Whether it is maa ke haath ka khaana or papa ki daant, the little things that makeup home have come to life. The board games in the living room, constant arguments with siblings, and playing a lot of fetch with pets has become an escape from the pandemic. Teens have understood that more important than the worry of missing out on life, to appreciate the present. Especially for students who are in college away from home, it has been a blessing in disguise.
5. Starting an Online Business: Remember how I talked about hobbies before? Well, some teens have taken it a step further and explored their entrepreneurial side, to start their own business! From artwork, graphic designing to thrifting they have left no stone unturned. The pressure of academics is also there, so kudos to all young business owners out there who are conquering the world and making money out of their passion!
6. Therapy: It is important for you to know it has not been all sunshine and rainbows. Heightened anxiety and stress levels, the pressure of academics and the uncertainty of the future of job prospects, toxic relationships even at their homes, have been only some of the things teens are having to deal with. Luckily, some of us have had the privilege of the option of choosing a therapy. Many students have used the surge in online therapy to their benefit and figuring themselves out with the help of an expert. However, many teens are not able to get or afford therapy, so I have a request to y’all from my side - just be a little kinder to the people around you - real or virtual.
Agh, that’s all I have for today. What do y’all think about how teens are dealing with this pandemic? If you’re a teen, what do you do? If you know some teens, what is one thing you would like them to know? Let me know, let’s talk!
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