Gen Z, The Corona Diaries: Human Contact Can't Be Replaced by Technology

By Masha, 18, Boulder, Colorado 

It was a warm Wednesday afternoon and I was walking to my Finance class at CU Boulder when I got an email announcing that we would be transitioning to online learning for the remainder of the semester due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Just like that, in one email, my entire world was flipped. My friends and I took advantage of our last few days at school and celebrated the wonderful semester and a half that we had like there was no tomorrow. That Friday I packed up my entire dorm room along with the thousands of memories I had made and drove home.

Moving back into my parents’ house and transitioning to online learning was more difficult than I anticipated, and it’s been hard not to wonder what the remainder of my semester would have looked like if everything was fine. I have been keeping myself busy with schoolwork, exercising, walking my dog, and spending a lot of time with family. It’s hard to stay positive during this time of uncertainty but I am extremely grateful for my circumstances. In all honesty, I feel very anxious and unsure about the world and I wish there was clear information available because everything is so all over the place. Even though I don’t want to admit it or speak it into existence, I have a feeling I will not be returning to in-person classes by the fall semester. I am nervous about how this will impact my learning experience, my grades, and my college life in general. I feel that I am mostly teaching myself right now and I am worried it will impact my ability to get a job and perform well at it when I am entering the workforce.

After the Coronavirus settles down a bit and things hopefully return back to “normal”, I think that my generation, Gen Z, will never take for granted any social gathering with friends and will seize every opportunity that comes our way since everything was taken from us in an instant. Prior to the outbreak, Gen Z was very virtually connected, but now that it’s our only way of communicating with important people in our lives, we realize that human contact is invaluable and cannot be replaced by technology. I think that my generation, as well as the world, is going to be more aware, more present, more cautious, and hopefully a better place.

It’s sad yet interesting that it takes a global pandemic to realize just how united the world is; that just because we are spread across seven continents and 195 countries, we are not that different. Even though right now we are living through a horrifying and uncertain time, I remain hopeful and I think that, as a world, we will come out of it stronger, more united, more appreciative, and the best we can possibly be.

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