Categorized | OPINION

One walk, one family board game at a time

Posted on 15 April 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Gen Z: What we think

By Casey Hanson-Rosenberg

Casey Hanson-Rosenberg

Outside, the streets and playgrounds are barren and abandoned. The darken husks of tattoo parlors long for the college students who used to stop in without an appointment to get their boyfriend’s name tattooed onto their wrists. Inside, teenagers are still crying over math problems. Has anything really changed? This is not an academic roadblock that any of us planned for, and teenagers everywhere are learning to adapt.
Not having to commute to a location that is designated as a learning environment has taken a toll on our academic lives. I, along with my peers, feel that it’s far harder to perform with prime productivity in our personal palaces of passivity. The added stress of the current situation also makes it harder to focus on academics. The feeling that I’m not actually in school permeates as classes become an aberration and deadlines lose their gravity. The implementation of online schooling has helped bring a schedule back into our lives, but it is still hard to shake the general monotony and lethargy of doing all of your work in the same room.
This loss of structure has been a big blow to our mental health. On top of that, it has become harder to contact mental health specialists and school social workers. Without being able to see our friends in person, a lot of us are losing the social support systems that we used to rely on. Being stripped of the dopamine releases that we got from hugging, talking, and performing ritual sacrifices with our friends along with the current situation has thrown anxiety gasoline on the serotonin-deficient fire that is our collective mental health. In order to keep from feeling like the people from Plato’s Allegory of a cave, a lot of us have resorted to biking, hiking, or taking walks. We have all been taking things one walk around the neighborhood and family board game at a time. I have been able to spend so much more quality time with my family, which I appreciate and view as one of my largest and sturdiest anchors during this time.
A lot of us have begun taking up new hobbies and revisiting our past obsessions. I started sewing again, which I haven’t done in years. Having free time isn’t something that a lot of us are used to. With colleges getting more and more competitive, it feels like we are constantly supposed to be expanding our resume or bulking up on extracurriculars. This is the first time in a while that I have been able to take a breath. I am finally able to do things because I want to do them, and not because it would look good on a college application. ACTs being canceled and rescheduled in June has given us more time to study, although a lot of colleges are no longer requiring an ACT score. A break from the constant work frenzy that we are so well acquainted with is something that we all need during these times.
As graduations get canceled and our lives feel more and more like a YA novel, it can be hard to remain positive. I truly believe that my generation will come through this a stronger community. Every group chat and every zoom lecture makes us appreciate each other even more. As I look into my classmate’s eyes I can tell that we all hope that this is the only apocalypse that we live through.
Casey Hanson-Rosenberg is a junior at Great River School (1326 Energy Park Dr.). She hopes to major in journalism or creative writing in college.