The COVID-19 lockdowns that started in early March provided a time for drastic change for many individuals. Amidst the beginning of the pandemic, America was instructed to stay at home. The country shut down. In that time, personal and mental changes were very common.
“Going into quarantine, I didn’t really anticipate how much of a change it would be and how much it would affect me mentally,” Prep senior Joseph Armanini said. “I was kind of like, ‘Oh, we’re off from school, it’s not gonna be too hard.’”
Students began to complete assignments at home as teachers adjusted to the changing situation. Opinions on what the rest of quarantine would bring differed among the students of Prep and Villa.
“I was really kind of neutral towards everything,” said Villa Student Mary Grace Kelly said. “I know that’s kind of a strange answer, but I really wasn’t scared going into it. I wasn’t sad. What’s gonna happen was gonna happen.”
The uncertainty involving the COVID-19 situation didn’t worry her all too much. Although the expectations held for the lockdown seemed to be relatively positive between Joe and Mary Grace, this wasn’t necessarily the case for everyone.
A feeling that many people came to terms with and experienced was extreme loneliness.
“I was definitely intimidated by the loneliness aspect,” Joe said. “I spent hours alone in a room trying to do work and focus, and it was terrible, to say the least.”
The absence of socializing and interacting with others during school along with bedrooms turned classrooms took a toll on some students. Oppositely, the lockdown provided the time for some individuals, like Mary Grace Kelly, to conquer pre-existing problems. Before quarantine, the senior in high school described how she had been struggling with loneliness. Afterwards, she felt a bit more understood.
“In a way, I think that quarantine was good for me because it’s almost like everyone else was able to experience what I felt like all the time,” Mary said. “You can’t feel left out if no one else is doing anything.”
She continued to say how old friendships had been rekindled, time was spent with distant siblings, and peace was made with certain feelings.
Personal progress was a common result amongst these teens, despite their expectations or experiences.
“My mental strength has somewhat increased as well,” Joe said. “I feel like I’m a stronger person when it comes to emotional strength. Quarantine really put into perspective that anything can change on the flick of a dime.”
When reflecting back on quarantine, Joseph stressed recognizing the accomplishment that was getting through lockdown.
“To come out on the other side and say that we made the most of it and actually somewhat grew is something that needs to be acknowledged by more people,” he said. “We all made it through it. We’re all here to tell the tale.”