Our world has fundamentally changed aver the past few months, and all of society is trying to catch up. The future of our country will depend on, and ultimately be lead by, the teenagers that are developing in this chaotic time. This makes it of the utmost importance to know what is impacting our youths, and consequently, our future. Now, teenagers are just trying to function normally, and live life in a global pandemic.
Tartan High School Junior, Sarah Curtice, comments on the change in everyday teenage life, saying, “everything is so regulated” like getting a job or going through the process of learning to drive and having to pass a driving test. These are things that for many years were simple parts of growing up, but now are difficult and tedious to achieve. Teenagers now have to survive on limited communications, and safety precautions which limit the connections that need to be made, such as the ones to get a job and figure out what the rest of life is going to look like for them. In generations before you could shadow people in a profession to see if that career choice would be a good fit, and if you wanted to see your friend, you could go over to their house, all without worrying about the repercussions of spreading germs.
Now with social distancing and other precautions necessary for proper safety, social interactions are limited if not completely absent from years past, and entirely different from what teenagers have had before. These social precautions almost ended all sports and activities as well, leaving teenagers with even fewer outlets for social interaction. When asked about how the pandemic has impacted her social life Curtice explained that it’s difficult to not be able to see the people you care about, stating “they’re like a coping mechanism”. Curtice goes on, saying that without them, “every little thing seems to add up and then eventually explode”, showing how detrimental it is to be without friends during a time when all you need is someone to talk to.
In important coming-of-age decision is when or if you should start working. Whether it’s in fast food or retail, it is now a concern of safety and work experience that will for teenagers carry into the future. Curtice explains that “it’s hard to make connections at work” and that “everyone’s very cautious around each other”, showing just one new hardship that teenagers now have to face, while trying to get a footing in the real world.
It’s easy to see the big picture of what is going on in the world, but it’s difficult, especially right now, to predict what the future will look like. The reality is, the future leaders and innovators of the world are the kids dealing with this once in a lifetime crisis, and the inherent changes that are coming with it. This instant alteration in our world has made us “100 times more aware of our surroundings” as Curtice put it. Hopefully the awareness this dark time has given us, will lead to a brighter future.