A Young Adult on Pandemic

On the eve of 2020, if you had told me that within two and a half months, society would come to a screeching halt and I, along with millions of others, would be confined to my home, I would’ve thought you were insane. But, lo and behold, here we are. Right now, social distancing is the new norm. Our formerly crowded schedules have become as empty as the offices and airports. We live in an age of video-conferencing and distance learning, and for many of us, it’s a difficult reality to come to terms with.

I write this as a seventeen year old who misses his friends and misses his community. Waking up each day, I get an inescapable sense of being some sort of bird trapped in a cage. Staring at a screen during a video-conference can never hold the same weight as conversing with someone face to face. It just feels like a cheap, novel substitute, like the ersatz food of the First World War. In all ways, it’s inferior to the real thing, but when it’s the only option, you have to take it. Simply put, it’s a sacrifice we have to make, because to not do so would be ruinous.

Every generation has it’s great struggle. The Lost Generation abandoned the pleasantries of home to hold the line in the fields of Flanders. The Greatest Generation rose from recession and war to liberate Europe from the vile maw of tyranny. Baby Boomers slumbered each night not knowing if they would survive the night. Now, we live through one of the greatest pandemics to ever blight the face of the Earth. History calls upon us all to do our part. For the youth just finding their place in the world, it may seem as though the rug has been ripped out from under us, and in many ways, it has. Right now, youth are sacrificing the quality of their education, their social-emotional development, and any of their new found freedoms. The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic is going to impact us for the rest of our lives. Young adults have lost their last sliver of childhood, and their first sliver of adulthood. It’s hard to get those back. It is only through great effort that we may preserve ourselves and grow stronger.

As with each great crisis that has come before, ingenuity has begun to flourish. Where online education may falter, youth have taken it upon themselves to embark upon their own initiatives. From online outreach initiatives to 3D modeling and from journal keeping to, well, article writing, youth leadership has shown itself to be a powerful force, and when we at last emerge from this pandemic,the voice of the youth will have been tempered. As we forge our way through crisis, we prepare ourselves to someday inherit a vastly changed world.

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