By: Disha Kumar
Flashback to around six months ago, we led a busy, mechanical life because it was deemed right by our education system. Under usual circumstances, we’d get to school around seven and leave at three which means we would be there for 7-8 hours a day—a normal work day. Since society told us that we need to go to higher education in order to get a job and make money, colleges require us to be in at least two after school clubs, adding up to at least another two hours. And since most high school students either have to work or practice sports to get a college scholarship, they stay occupied till nine. Moreover, colleges want students to take all honors and APs, so now we stay up until 2 a.m. doing homework and projects. And this cycle repeats for the next nine months.
Teachers and parents wonder why students are so tired and depressed, on top of having incomplete work, but the answer is simple: it’s hard to focus on your homework, while crying yourself asleep.
Welcome to our life.
But, COVID-19 changed everything—one second we were indulging in our busy schedules, then a pandemic was declared. Talk about a complete 180. Within a matter of days, schools closed, social gatherings were canceled, and malls shut down, leaving the entire world on the edge of its seat. Within a matter of a week, my generation went from not having enough time to finish breakfast to staring at the ceiling, bored out of our minds all day. That only increased once we finished the school year: all that was left to do was to just exist.
If there’s one thing that couldn’t get any worse in 2020, it would be GenZ’s mental health. Going to bed at 3 a.m., scrolling through Tik Tok for hours, and eating two meals on some days while snacking all day out of boredom on the other days have all just become the lifestyle of the youth today (including myself).
With nowhere to go, nothing to do all day, and no one to talk to, a lost routine could only mean one thing—a lost connection with the outer world. Checking social media, messages, and music apps regularly had become our coping mechanism. With the doors shut to the real world, there remained isolation. And ss isolation unfolds, putting up with our already unstable mental and emotional health became normal.
Even though student life before the pandemic was not something to be looked back in awe of, it had its merits, the biggest being actually seeing people and spending time with friends. Now it's all faded away into the past.
Yet, not having to wake up early, follow a schedule, or do anything at all sounds more like a dream than a nightmare. In fact, it’s a dream we’ve been living in for six months now. A dream that has blurred the line between fantasy and reality, but for how much longer? The four walls we call our room is our realm. We’ve been hibernating in this cave for six months. The question is how much longer. When will we finally wake up from this dream?