You may have heard the advice to keep a diary during this pandemic, both to understand yourself and to create a record of an extraordinary time for the future. In “The Quarantine Diaries,” Amelia Nierenberg writes:
As the coronavirus continues to spread and confine people largely to their homes, many are filling pages with their experiences of living through a pandemic. Their diaries are told in words and pictures: pantry inventories, window views, questions about the future, concerns about the present.
Taken together, the pages tell the story of an anxious, claustrophobic world on pause.
… When future historians look to write the story of life during coronavirus, these first-person accounts may prove useful.
“Diaries and correspondences are a gold standard,” said Jane Kamensky, a professor of American History at Harvard University and the faculty director of the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute. “They’re among the best evidence we have of people’s inner worlds.”
But a “world on pause” affects teenagers differently than it does older generations, and Ana Homayoun reports that “Some Teenagers Are Creating New Rituals in the Pandemic” to cope. The article begins:
Throughout the country, school closures, remote learning and quarantine are redefining the American teen experience. Many are dealing with grief, trauma and loss that is compounded by the lack of school-day routine and inability to see friends in person or participate in activities that once consumed their lives.
While some had initially hoped that the shutdowns were only temporary and that they’d be going back to their classrooms for the end of the school year, most states have now ruled out that possibility. For teenagers, there are deep losses, but some are finding bright spots as well.
It’s clear that this pandemic has disproportionately impacted low-income families and racial minorities, and some students will experience significant learning loss. At the same time, some previously overscheduled and sleep-deprived students are surprised to find more time for sleep, less stress around completing schoolwork, and more time for simple activities like reading on the front porch, spending time outdoors or having a leisurely dinner as a family.
Students, read either or both articles, then tell us:
What have you learned about yourself while in lockdown? For instance, what aspects of life have been a struggle? What has been easy? Do you have new insights into what makes you happy — or into what makes you scared, bored or angry? Have you come to any realizations about your friendships or romantic relationships? What have you learned about your family and your role in it? What have you noticed about yourself as a student now that the usual structures of school life are gone? What do you want to remember from this time in terms of understanding yourself?
What rituals have you created during the shutdown that you hope to keep even as the world opens back up? Have you discovered any new passions or hobbies?
How self-aware have you been during this time? Have you been keeping a diary or reflecting some other way on how the pandemic is affecting you? Has it helped?
Has this lockdown clarified anything for you about what you want in the future? Why?
Students 13 and older are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.