“Stressful.” That’s what student Cadence Weber calls the pandemic that has killed over 5 million people worldwide.
Cadence Weber is a student here at Churchland High School. Just like other teens across America, the pandemic has taken a toll on her mental health.
“I do have to stress out a lot about being around people. And I do worry about how this is going to end in the long run,” she says.
From masks to being separated from loved ones and friends, teens have had to make a lot of changes to their daily schedule. Nobody is used to wearing masks, but everybody including teens have to adapt to it.
“I guess this is kinda becoming our new normal. I feel like the more that we get used to wearing and social distancing the more easier it will be,” says Weber.
The mask mandate was lifted on March 1st in Portsmouth. The mask mandate changes come as cases across the country start to go down and vaccinations go up.
At school, throughout the first week of vanishing masks, most people still kept their mask on and Weber kept her mask on too.
“I think I’ll still keep my mask on at least for now.”
This pandemic is also affecting teens' education. Grades are plummeting and more F’s are starting to appear on report cards across America. A study done on insidehighered.com revealed that 79% of students were failing at least one class.
Weber agrees that sometimes it is hard to understand teachers with the masks on.
“It is definitely a little harder to understand people while they talk.”
The muffled mask isn't the only thing that is contributing to the drop. During the virtual learning period, Weber admits that it was harder to focus. And that’s the testimony of so many other teens. Without face-to-face guidance from teachers, many teens didn’t flourish as they would have if they were in a classroom. With limited access to help, many teens didn’t have anybody to go to when they needed help with assignments.
If anything, most teens don’t see a way out of the pandemic. They feel as if this is becoming our new norm. They feel trapped inside the room that is the pandemic. According to Healthblog.com, 3 in 4 teens have suffered mentally from the pandemic.
“What works for me is writing about my feelings and talking to other friends who are okay with listening. Most importantly, putting myself first when it comes to my health,” says Weber.
She may have plans to tackle her issues, but many other teens don't. Some don’t know that there is help for suffering teens out there. Most doctors will tell you to speak up and don’t be afraid to tell people what’s wrong. There are people out there who care for you and want to help you. By going to a loved one and talking to them the room that you are trapped in might just open up a little.
And because of the increase in struggles with mental health, a lot of school districts have allowed for more days off for mental health reasons.
Officials at the CDC released a statement in December stating that the coronavirus is endemic. This means that the virus is becoming a part of our lives and maybe part of our lives in the long run.
Said Weber, “I don’t think it will ever truly ever end, but I believe that we can adapt and make it part of our lives.”
Photo: Courtesy of C. Weber