QUARANteens…

8 a.m. with a huge cup of my favourite caffe latte next to me I log in to MS Teams. Another day starts. “Good morning guys!”- I say enthusiastically with a beaming smile on my face, as I strongly believe in the action-reaction power of mirror neurons. What I hear in response is a series of yawning good mornings, which often sound like half-asleep mumbling straight from bed. Something’s clearly wrong with these mirror neurons! But I don’t give up. Still smiling, I do my best to spread good cheer. However, it doesn’t seem to be a good day for grammar lesson. No. So we start talking about how you are feeling and what it’s like to be a teen in COVID-19 times. Did you know that a term ‘quaranteens’ has been coined recently to refer to you, teens of the year 2020?

And this is how you feel about this whole situation we have been going through for the last 10 months…

‘Around March I was acutally very happy about the quarantine. I’m not a big fan of going to school, so the opportunity to stay insde, get enough sleep and free time sounded really nice. And it was, at first. I successfully finished my 1st highschool year, but when we got into a lockdown again I started noticing many flaws about it. Firstly, the school-work. I cannot focus during online lessons, most teachers don’t seem to realise that we also need time, there’s a lot of homework and each teacher wants it to be sent on a different platform, which is very confusing and at time can become lowkey problematic. Secondly, I’m an introvert, but that doesn’t change the fact that I need people to socialise with. I feel lonely and tired of my family’s constant company. I just want to go outside, sit in some nice cafe, meet with my friends form other cities. I miss my old life.’ [Marysia]

‘The pandemic has changed a lot in my life, I feel completely different, like another person. People’s thinking has also changed, the economy is collapsing, if it goes on like this, we won’t last long. Due to pandemic, I can’t spend my free time normally, I can barely go out with friends, my life is based on sitting in my room .That can’t be healthy.’ [Mateusz]

‘Pandemic has been affecting my life from the start. The thing that is the most brutal in this time, is worrying about our loved ones. Even a litlle cough makes you worried and thinking. Another thing is social life, I sometimes go out obviously, you cant just sit on your chair all the time. But the thing I miss are my friends, parties, and all the things that you do when you are young. Obviously wearing the mask is annoying, I think to everyone. I miss going out at night with my bunch of friends, just seeing the city at night. Also the whole country is hurt by this disaster, small bisnesses, that didin’t make it through the pandemic, it’s just really a painful time right now.’ [Sylwek]

‘Since the whole thing with corona virus pandemic started, I was happy that I can stay at home and not worry about getting up “early” for school, but almost one year later I noticed that I miss those simple things like waking up early for school, going somewhere else than just a grocery store.’ [Jakub]

‘Since the pandemic started, it’s different. When it started I was happy because I thought we would have so much free time and then we will come back and it would be normal again. But now I’m struggling with school, there is so much to study, my mental health deteriorating . But it’s not only this that is bad. I can’t see my relatives, my best friend who I miss so much, and I will not see her for a long time I guess. It’s hard for me because I need closeness with her and I just need her around. Fortunately I can see my boyfriend which I am very happy about, but at the beggining we wouldn’t able to see each other very often, so it was hard but I think it has brought us closer together. If I was to tell you about the good side of the quarantine, I must say I’ve improved my make up skills, which I am very happy about, and I have got closer with my parents which gave me a lot of joy, but still I hope it will end as soon as possible because I’ve had enough of it.’ [Hania]

‘Covid made me stay at home. It has forbidden me to travel, to go to gym or to eat out. It makes me sick, actually what makes me sick is the government’s and people’s reaction. The constant fear is dividing the communities all over the world. And our human rights are being broken all the time, everywhere. The choice is taken from us and given to the government, and we do nothing about it.’ [Kuba]

‘Pandemic has changed everyone’s life, I have to say that. For some people it might be good, they might feel better while staying at home and doing everything on their own. But there are a lot of people who used to live outside home and now they can feel like they are stuck at home. There had never been anything like this pandemic in our lifetime, wearing masks etc. but I think it can teach us something, like learning at by home on Teams. Of course for older people it’s much worse, they lose their jobs. Summing up I have to say that learning at school was much better than this :(‘ [Kacper]

‘How pandemic has changed my life? I think it’s different than when I was in first grade. Then I felt lonely and I didn’t have much energy. It was hard to be at home all the time. Now is a little bit better, I have got used to it and I feel comfortable with it. I still see my friends rarely, but I think I wouldn’t to go back to school. I have more time for myself. The only downside is that I miss going to shopping malls or to the cinema, or just not wearing a mask all the time while being outside. ‘ [Martyna]

‘When the pandemic started I thought that the lockdown would last only two weeks. To be honest, I was so happy about that because I was so tired of school. After the first month of sitting at home I started feeling so bad. I was, and I still am, all days alone. I miss my family, my best friend, my teachers, and school and normal life. There are also good sides – I have some time to develop my passions.’ [Mela]

‘The pandemic has certainly changed our lives. For a large part of the year, we sat in isolation, often cut off from the activities and people that previously accompanied us every day. At the beginning it was hard for me to adjust to the new situation. As an extrovert, I really missed contact with friends and the possibility of going out. I felt hopeless and plunged into depressive thoughts. I thought that I would never go back to school and I would not be able to write my final exams well, which would have ruined my chances of good studies. At one point, however, I noticed that worrying did not bring anything positive to my life. I changed my way of thinking – I focused more on myself and on what I want to achieve, not on what I will fail. I have focused more on my home life, I help and spend more time with my family, and when I can’t meet my friends, we chat online. My discovery in quarantine is that your well-being depends on your attitude. That is why I try to start each day positively with a smile on my face, with hope, not resignation.’ [Kalcia]

‘Since the pandemic started I have more time for myself. In the week I can’t do much because I have a lot of homework, but at the weekends I can have some rest, I don’t have to go to school and I don’t have to study, and even if I have homewrok, it won’t take much time for me to complete it, so I can enjoy the weekend and do whatever I want. On the bad side, I can’t meet my school friends every single day, I miss them sometimes.’ [Patrycja]

‘Pandemic made me stay at home. The last time was out was around 3 weeks ago. I live in the countryside so I have only one shop to go to. In the morning I wake up 2 minutes before the lesson starts and after school I make myself something to eat and for the rest of the day I do nothing, maybe some household chores. My brothers piss me off and scream. Almost every day I play with my cats. I do my homework and go to sleep late, around 2 am. So my life has somehow changed for worse.’ [Ala]

‘Since all of this happened I think my life actually has changed for better. My grades are good also my relationships improved so I’m feeling great. I’m feeling really bored but at least I’m well-rested. I’m not a fan of online lessons but it’s a great option for stopping covid.’ [Franek]

‘When the pandemic started and we had to stay at our homes I was happy at first. It changed quickly and my feelings about it are the same now. My whole routine has changed – not to say that it has pretty much… disappeared. Staying so much inside is kind of flustrating and overwhelming. I miss my friends and staying in touch is a little bit harder, considering I don’t get to see them a lot. School isn’t much of a problem for me and I’m just trying to go through it.’ [Klaudia]

‘When the pandemic started I was happy, because I thought thats only 2 weeks of quarantine where I can rest and after this time I will go back to school and normal activities. But all my feelings changed as they extended the quarantine period. Then I realized that I will be without my friends for a very looong time. It was hard at the beginning, I missed contact with people. But as time went on, I began to get used to it. Now my biggest problem and worry is not contact with people (because I think we all have learned to communicate and interact during the pandemic time) my problem is my education, Its hard for me to learn through online lessons, although I can see the progress. ‘ [Daria]

‘The Pandemic really hasn’t changed my life too much. The only change that has affected me is online education. I was never a fun of going out because I meet my friends online. My grades are stable and I am okay with this. Wearing a mask can be annoying. But I can feel that I am less motivated to do anything. On the other hand, I am happy that I can spend more time with my family’ [Marek]

‘Pandemic has changed my life a lot. I had to limit events, but I still go to home parties. Wearing a face mask has became my habit. I take everywhere just like my phone. I miss crowded cities at night. I would like to see people again and my town waking up early in the morning. There are also positives of pandemic because I have lost weight, about seven kilos 🙂 ‘ [Mati]

‘The pandemic hasn’t changed much when it comes to spending my free time. My social life (not including internet friends) is now practically non-existent. So many small businesses had to close, it’s sad, really. My heart goes out to the people who struggle because of the virus.’ [Kar]

These are just some of the comments my students shared with me during our lessons. And how has lockdown affected YOU and YOUR life? Maybe you can still find something positive about it? Is the lockdown a curse, a blessing or maybe a lesson for you? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Picture source: www.freepik.com

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