Our New Normal Isn’t Normal

Alex Fennelly, Reporter

May 2020- The Coronavirus pandemic has changed everyone’s lives and daily routines in every way. There is no more hanging out with your friends, going out to a restaurant to get something to eat, everything has changed. Being scared to leave your house due to a deadly disease is a new normal for people.
Teenagers specifically are being affected in new ways due to this pandemic. Online school is challenging kids to try and form a routine and keep up with their academics in the comfort of their own home, which is easier said than done. When you’re sitting in your bed, watching Netflix, or keeping up with your friends, pretty much the last thing you want to do is think about homework or taking a test that you’re confused about. Learning new information online is challenging. For me, I can’t learn information from just watching a video, I do better in a classroom setting with a teacher showing diagrams and speaking face to face.
Being a teenager during this time period is scary. You think about all your loved ones that are older and think about how anyone could get this virus and pass it to people without them even knowing for two weeks. You hear about people you know or local families that are suffering with this virus and just hope that everyone will get better. This pandmeic is making people feel more obligated to connect with their loved ones or spend time with their family because there’s simply nothing else to do and during your teenage years. I know I sometimes spend more time with my friends than family selfishly, and this pandemic is teaching the importance of family.
Mental health has been a topic of discussion during the spread of this disease because of being stuck at home. People have been trying to come up with ideas and activities to keep spirits high during this dark time. Working out is an activity that has been very important in my everyday life. Being stuck inside makes it easy to just sit all day and get no physical activity, but to be healthy you have to be active. Even if it’s just taking a walk, six feet away from anyone of course, any activity is good to take your mind off of what’s happening in the world and get into a healthy mind set. I know personally I am no artist, but when stressful things come my way, art is always a good route to relieve any emotion I’m feeling.
Everyone is going through this weird state with you, you’re never alone in this. My tip for anyone who feels as if they are alone, is to email a teacher or guidance counselor. I know our Hampton Bays administration and Student Council are trying to find as many ways as possible to create a healthy environment for everyone, so if you have any ideas of your own or just need to talk, there is someone out there willing to listen or hear your ideas.
During this quarantine I’ve also learned how some people act during times of trouble. Most people, besides the people who are still working daily which I thank for your bravery during this time, are staying home and social distancing, only going out if you need food or any necessity. On the other hand, there are some people, mostly people of younger ages, being totally ignorant to this serious disease and are still hanging out with whomever they want and wherever they want. This is severely disrespectful to not only the people who are staying home out of respect for the government’s guidance, but also to the health care workers. I bet they would want nothing more than to be able to go home to their families and not have to work ridiculous hours in unsafe conditions, but they do because this disease is still spreading. People just having fun, hanging out with friends is a slap in the face to all of those risking their lives. This is a major pet peeve of mine during this time.
With people trying to stay home, news about schools closing or opening has been all that teenagers are focused on. I know that all my friends will text my articles of what the governor has said in the morning for the latest details. Personally, I never thought New York would officially close school. I feel as if my sophomore year of highschool was so short, and yes, I’m lucky to still have two more years in high school, it feels weird to not see my teachers and friends everyday. When I found out that all New York schools were officially closed for the rest of this school year at first I was very excited I thought, ‘I don’t have to go to school anymore and I get to go right to summer break this is awesome,’ but then I realized I would still have to continue online school, which as I discussed isn’t my favorite and I won’t get to say a goodbye to some of my teachers I may not have again. This was especially horrible I could imagine for the senior class. My sister is a senior and she hates that there most likely will be no prom or graduation to say their final goodbyes in person. School closing also made me wonder how the teacher felt. This is new for not only students, but teachers. How are they feeling about making lessons, recording lessons to be online, helping students? Everyone is affected by schools closing, but this is the only way to keep everyone involved safe.
Besides teachers and students, another group of people that has been affected by coronavirus is small business and their families. Both economically and emotionally, this coronavirus had created a whirlwind of terror for these people. Financially, having no work is hard and with the little amount of money the government gives, it isn’t helpful for some people to even just pay their mortgage, let alone food. These money problems can correlate with mental health issues as this causes stress and anxiety for those who are having trouble managing. Work is also sometimes a place for people to have their own time away from home and is a safe place for them and now that is taken away. Times like these make you step outside of your own bubble that you live in and really think of thoses who may not be thought about in mainstream media. I know where we live, there are so many small businesses that were forced to shut down, and the families are paying the prices for something no one could control or foresee happening.
Coronavirus has made everyone’s world do a 180 within the numbered days. School has completely changed. Daily routines have changed. Work has changed. Everything is simply not normal. Finding our new “normal” during this time is a struggle, but with the support of others, we can do it. It is important to try to stay positive during dark times such as these.