Column: Reflecting on two years of the pandemic


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Gabi Unabia, Staff Writer

On March 13, 2020, every teenager experienced the iconic moment where our eventually-prolonged two weeks off school were announced over the intercom during seventh period. Personally, I was sitting in the learning commons working on a group project for American government when it came. Blissfully ignorant, none of us knew this was the turning point to our new lives. With the two year anniversary of this event creeping closer, it’s a fitting time to reflect on some of the changes that came along with the pandemic. 

For me, it took the already prominent growing pains and amplified them. I believe I speak for most teenagers when I say that being locked in alone with your thoughts and teen angst was a severely unpleasant experience to say the least. When I look around at how myself and other teens were affected by the pandemic, it’s apparent that all the aspects of being a teenager were essentially on steroids while we quarantined. The social media addictions, fashion trends and phases felt so important at the time because many people had nothing else to focus on, or nobody around to judge them. 

Now, as we approach two years since the initial lockdown, many people credit their time spent at home as a step toward understanding who they are, whatever that may mean for them. But what does that mean for people who didn’t find themselves, or found nothing fulfilling from quarantine? Those who fell into depressions, bad habits, fell behind on trends or didn’t try any quarantine workouts? 

Like I mentioned, the hormonal, pubescent teenage angst was heightened. As a teenage girl, I felt so pressured to avoid the quarantine weight gain everyone complained about. Seeing other girls on social media spend all their newfound free time working out definitely kept the good old unspoken competition and hierarchy between high school girls alive even though there was no school. 

I predict that those who have adjusted well after quarantine or those who never took it seriously in the first place won’t even realize that two years have gone by. If anything, they’ll say things like: “it’s been two years already?” or, “that went by so fast!” because they’ve accepted it as a past chapter in their lives. For the rest of us who stayed in the full lockdown, never prematurely took off our masks, and hated e-learning, these past two years felt like a decade. For every high schooler who was either walking the halls trying not to fall asleep in class, or working on a group project like me when that announcement came booming over the intercom– I’m confident we will never forget what we were feeling in that moment. For us, every March 13 to come will be haunted by the memory of the two weeks off school that quickly multiplied. 

Society wants to progress forward as soon as possible and leave the pandemic behind, which is understandable but simply unrealistic. There are teenagers who felt like they lost their adolescence, who never quite readjusted to in-person school, who couldn’t just pick up where they left off. Those feelings are valid too. With the feeling of life creeping towards normalcy, if not already there, be mindful of those around you who may feel stuck. Rather than letting exterior aspects, like wearing a mask or not, affect your view on someone, remember that they went through it just as you did. They want it to be over just as much as you do, but “over” may look a little different for them.