COVID shakes up teens’ lives

Quarantine, eLearning takes a toll teens mentally, physically, emotionally

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Jona Carper, Reporter

Students and quarantine

Quarantine was not something that anyone expected to happen when the students were let out for spring break this past March. Some students weren’t affected by it at all, while it completely altered others’ lives.

As students were torn away from their friends this past March and forced to finish up their 2019-2020 school year online, some had trouble coping with the fact that they were away from their friends and people in general for so long. 

Freshman Mia Kerberg says that being away from all her friends during quarantine negatively affected her mental health. 

“I’m a social butterfly, and it’s depriving me of my social life that I feel like I need,” Kerberg said. “It makes me sad when I don’t have human interaction for a while.”

“It’s been hard trying to find the pastime when you can’t really see people and when the most you can do is text or call,” said junior Ian Rodriguez. 

Senior John Hammond says that being away from his friends didn’t really affect him mentally over quarantine because he was still able to talk to them and see them every now and then. 

“Not being able to go to school full time my senior year sucks; [the main way] quarantine changed me was by making me regret not hanging out with my friends when I had the chance,” Hammond said. 

Rodriguez explained that being home away from friends and not actually socializing was difficult, and eLearning added extra stress.

Some students were personally affected by the virus. 

“My sister got COVID in April but she’s okay now,” Kerberg said. “It made me realize that this virus is very real and should be taken seriously.”

“[eLearning] has been hard because there’s no motivation; you’re at home where home should be somewhere you relax,” Rodriguez said. “Now it is a forced learning environment and it’s new and hard to accept, so therefore hard to work and learn. [eLearning] affected my quarantine badly because [with school from home] it’s hard to focus at home and we haven’t been in school for six months.”

Hammond says he didn’t like eLearning because he didn’t learn as much and it felt more like busy work, so he couldn’t really memorize the material. 

“eLearning for me is a struggle,” said Kerberg. “I feel like I can’t get anything done because being in-person helps me feel the pressure of getting my work done.”

When it came to exercise, a lot of people didn’t get the proper exercise that they needed with gyms being closed. But for others, working out at home wasn’t an issue at all. 

“Gyms being closed didn’t affect me because I have a lot of equipment at home that I use,” said Hammond. “ I lost weight and gained muscle from quarantine because I changed my diet and started working out twice a day.”

Rodriguez says that he didn’t gain weight, but lost muscle because he has a fast metabolism. 

“I’m doing Bulldolls, so over the summer we did a lot of exercise over our zoom calls,” said Kerberg. “So I stayed in shape.”

The facts behind it

Quarantine came with good and bad habits. Hammond said he improved his diet over quarantine, but had a rough sleep schedule since he didn’t really have much to do. Hammond says the only thing that stuck with him was his diet and workout routine. 

“A good habit I developed was always taking a mask whenever I leave, and needed to have one prompted it,” said Rodriguez. “A bad habit I developed was procrastinating and putting off assignments. I developed that was because I’m at home and home is where I relax.”

Rodriguez says that he still needs to work on breaking the habit of procrastination.

Research shows that there are a lot of bad habits that you could have picked up during the COVID-19 period. According to Centre Spring MD, some of the bad habits that could have been picked up over quarantine are panic-eating comfort foods, social media binges, lack of structure, and not exercising. 

Along with the physical aspects that could have affected a person during quarantine, there are also mental aspects that could have affected people. According to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the most common mental disorders developed over the quarantine were anxiety, depression, and confusion. Health care workers could have also potentially developed post-traumatic stress (PTSD) during the bigger parts of the outbreak.