Teenagers have had a full year to adjust to the new normal inside schools, but that has not made it any easier for some to cope with those changes.
“It’s just like ugh, man,” said 14-year-old Kyler Lancaster.
Five words rarely encapsulate a single sentiment among so many so well.
“There have definitely been more mental breakdowns during COVID than any time else,” said Kaylee Knapton, a high school sophomore. “I cut off all my hair [just because I wanted a change].”
Prior to the pandemic, one may have thought that the freedom of learning from home would have been a blessing of sorts. There are fewer alarm clocks, no hall passes needed to use the restroom, and meals available at all times of the day.
But it did not take long for any novelties to wear away and give way to the true reality of what was happening.
“It has been more difficult, for me personally, because I’m usually a very social person,” said freshman Jadyn Napirski.
The students we spoke with say changes in class schedules, routine, and particularly friendships are the most difficult to come to terms with. They also say learning remotely has given rise to new learning challenges they did not anticipate.
“Last year, you would get more help from the teacher, but this year, you have to get certain one-on-one classes to get more help,” said Lancaster.
Despite the drawbacks, however, these students say they have had a chance to explore new interests.
“I’ve been drawing a lot of people. I’ve been making a story,” said Presley Knapton.