A Chance to Begin Again

Isabella Lopez, Staff Reporter

Since 2019 when COVID first started, mental health has been a concern amongst teenagers with the beginning of online school. Most claim it is detrimental to mental health and has had a negative impact, but there is the strong argument it was beneficial. 

“I was honestly in the best place mentally while doing online school”, said senior Mackenzie Mesi. With online school came staying home, being isolated from in person social interactions. There wasn’t much to do besides go outside or go online. It was a difficult adjustment, but once the initial shock passed and routines were made there was a new option, self discovery. 

“I started to actually like reading. I got to find the genres I love with so much time on my hands”, said Amaya Nuewirth. With an abundance of time to discover new hobbies and passions it was impossible not to grow. Teenagers got to know themselves faster than any generation before. All there was to do all day was think. Think about their future, their career goals, the mistakes they’ve previously made. Everything they thought they knew about themselves was put under a microscope and dissected. They grew and nourished the parts of themselves that had previously been neglected. There were no distractions, nowhere else they needed to be, nothing that demanded their attention. 

“It was hard, I had never had that much time to just do nothing. I pretty much just went on TikTok all day”, said Emma Hansen. Most didn’t know how to handle all that free time, didn’t have the self discipline to do anything besides scroll through social media. Which, admittingly, provided a sense of connection. TikTok exploded overnight; if you didn’t have it, you were out of the loop. Inside jokes spread among millions from a single 15 second video. The For You Page was tailored to your interests and in that you felt seen. Taking up a new hobby? There are hundreds of others doing the same. Can’t stop watching that new show? Here are some theories on it. Loving that new fashion trend? Here’s where to find the pieces. Even with the increase in screen time and little else to do there was introspection. It was impossible to avoid. 

The pandemic is horrible. It has taken years and experiences no one will ever get back. In some ways we were forced to grow up faster, be more mature. But it also allowed us to blossom and brought us even closer to our true selves. That’s something we should always be grateful for. It was a break to reflect and heal. Some will look back and see only negative, only what was taken. But that’s not the full truth. No matter how old you are, or how much you’ve experienced, the pandemic gave you a chance to look into yourself and find something new. It doesn’t matter how big or small that new thing is, cherish it. Water your new parts and let them grow into another facet of you. 

If COVID continues to grow, if loved ones are continually in danger, it wouldn’t be the end of the world to go back into lockdown. Take the time and make the most of it, put yourself first and be your own company. Stop whining about change and embrace it. Everything is temporary, don’t let these years go by wasted waiting for the pandemics end. Start now and get a head start on your future. No matter what stage of life you are in, you have a future.