I just finished an article about young people’s mental health needs. While interviewing teens, I asked a question: Did you learn any positive lessons from the pandemic?
Here are a few responses:
I think I learned it’s important to have consistent habits when the world is in a constant state of uncertainty.
I discovered my mom can be fierce. She became our teacher and then an advocate.
She fights to make sure my brothers and me are safe and get a good education.
I loved seeing her that way.
I learned being afraid of other kids in school is foolish. I can stand up for myself. There are a lot bigger things to be afraid of.
When we weren’t in school, I made friends with people I didn’t know well because we were thrown into online classes. I didn’t really enjoy learning online, but I did like meeting kids who never crossed my path in high school.
I learned we have many ways of communicating. Even though we had to be apart physically, we didn’t have to be alone.
The pandemic brought up a lot of self-discovery scenarios in my head and led me to the need to discover who I truly am.
I learned how much my granddad means to me.
He has cancer and the thought of him getting COVID-19 made me think about him more than I thought about myself.
I learned homework makes a huge impact on your grades.
I leaned I can learn online and do well without a lot of prompting.
This was the first time I felt kind of grown up. I took over a lot while my mom worked.
A lot of people work from home now, so some families have been saved by it.
I learned how much music calms me. 13-year-old
I learned how to cook!
I discovered how much I like to write stories. I like to create universes and make up stories about the characters in those universes. It makes it easier to stop worrying about real life.
I re-discovered how much I love art. I made a lot of art during the lockdown.
I ate a lot of pizza but, seriously, I learned how to plant a garden and make recipes using fresh tomatoes, like soup, which goes really well with grilled cheese.
I learned how much we can help one another, even if we’re young.
The pandemic reinforced how much I love sports. I missed playing when we weren’t able to form teams. I also missed when football wasn’t happening. That was real hard for me.
I missed live theater, but I discovered streaming “Hamilton” and online theater camp.
I read a lot. I knew I liked to read but the lockdown showed me how much.
The pandemic taught me to appreciate things like sleepovers, eating out and shopping. I won’t take those things for granted again.
Have a question? Send it to Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski’s email firstname.lastname@example.org.