Sixty-two percent of high school students reported that out of all the changes and challenges presented by COVID-19, the most devastating and lasting effect of the pandemic on their lives was the loss of motivation for school and other aspects of life.
In a recent survey conducted on the student body of Eastern Christian High School, teens got candid on the unique personal struggles they have faced during quarantine, and even further, the ways that they or their day to day lives have been altered for good, or at least for the foreseeable future.
While no one can deny that everyone was thrown for a loop during worldwide isolation, the height of quarantine and it’s posed threats, it’s slightly shocking to see that many people, noticeably teens, are remarkably unrecovered from what they went through. These deeper planted, possibly concealed, lingering repercussions are significantly less talked about than the obvious, conspicuous consequences and impacts of the Covid outbreak, as the world as a whole has collectively decided to view the pandemic as a thing of the past, something we have all survived and made stronger because of.
While there is certainly potent hope for this to be the case, it does not mean that society is out of the woods just yet; in fact, for some, the things they dealt with during quarantine are a grapple they will be fighting for the rest of their lives.
It is a curious fact that while a large number of students expressed only slight awareness of continued effects of the virus on their lives, many of them feel that it is considerably more difficult to find the necessary will or motivation for things that used to be natural and second nature for them, like education or sports. Various anonymous student sources report on this topic,
“My motivation for school has changed, and I’ve started to miss the way things were before.”
“I have less motivation to do things in general.”
“I’ve witnessed an increase in depression and a massive decrease in motivation.”
“I have no motivation for anything, and have noticed low productivity.”
“Losing the ability to get together with people created an automatic isolation in me, where I don’t feel as much need to be with friends until I am actually with them.”
“My grades suffered drastically. I realized that online schooling just does not work for me, and that the change was too much for me to handle.”
Aside from the obvious shift in student’s outlook on their education and drive for activity, a large 52.4% of students responded that a general rise in anxiousness has accompanied these feelings due to the pandemic. Many students answered similarly:
“I have been most affected by the fear of my loved ones getting sick.”
“I’ve become more sad and anxious, and less likely to go out and have fun.”
“Being separated from people brought a rise in my mental and neurological disorders.”
“I’ve felt much more anxious for the health of my family. Everything is much more uncertain, and with that comes tons of worrying.”
46.4% of those surveyed also revealed that the most noticeable change they have observed in their classmates is a high increase to school related stress. Others noted that they have experienced friends becoming distant, or who seemed to be sad and anxious.
Even if the changes made by the pandemic haven’t been earth shattering for most people, the little discrepancies are still very present, and still should not be overlooked. It’s the little things that have changed the most, and even if one doesn’t always notice them on a daily basis, they are unarguably there, and likely here to stay.
This survey found that after motivation loss and rise in anxiety, they were affected by the health status of family members and the troubles that were caused by the necessity of separation from loved ones. Some other points brought up by students that are worth mentioning include,
“My three years at high school have felt so short.”
“I’m not even a social person, but I believe everyone needs social interaction.”
“My outlook on all aspects of life have changed, like friends, school and home.”
“I have lost some close friendships.”
“True devastation is the loss of time, of things, of experiences.”
In addition, one of the most common answers was the requirement for wearing masks, and another was the disappointment due to so many important and exciting things being constantly cancelled.
Truthfully, no one can pinpoint one thing that caused all of these alterations to the existences of so many different people; the simple reason behind that being that there is no single factor. All that can be said is there is no detectable cure for the persisting obstacles students are hurdling, and no reason to believe there ever will be such a remedy.
For now, it is more important than ever that teens going through tough times get the representation and voice they deserve, even if they don’t always feel open to these types of conversations, or have the provided space to open up on struggles such as these.
If nothing else, this study has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that even if it may sound cliche, no one is alone in this endeavor. Light may never be shed on this prolonged aftermath of COVID-19, but the first step in the direction of healing is remembering that we are all in this together, and we will all get through this together, one day at a time.