Gen Z, The Corona Diaries: Challenges and Changes

By Grace, 18, London, UK

I was reconciled and weirdly in the zone of waking up at 7am and revising for 8 hours a day with a ground zero of landing my GCSE’s in 8 weeks time. I was also totally focused on sport and had just won a place on the senior squash team and had lacrosse nationals in two weeks. Then Thursday night four weeks ago I landed awkwardly and in agony on the trampoline during practise and was sent home. I had no idea what was going to unfold next and that I wouldn't be returning to school for the foreseeable future. Coronavirus was something the school had sent a few emails to my parents about, but I never thought much about it. The next day when my mum couldn't get me a MRI scan and then two consultants consecutively cancelled appointments as they were self isolating, I reconsidered. I could hardly walk and then school closed down and I was facing 6 months of being literally crippled as the hospitals were shutting down all but essential surgery. Luckily my parents squeezed me into surgery, and now I’m also a typical teenager doing online physio and trying to work out what comes next.

I’m basically locked in my house with my mum, stepfather and sisters, floating through endless Netflix and trying to find new hobbies. I have tried to find ways to entertain myself. I started painting objects I could find in my house which was surprisingly therapeutic and took up large amounts of my day leaving me with less time for boredom. After about a week of painting I realised I'm no artist and I am now trying to knit. It is much harder than I expected but it’s giving me a challenge and something to work towards. As well as these crazy new hobbies I’m also catching up on the TV shows and movies I was once to busy to watch.

All of us are facing changes and challenges because of this pandemic. From school and exams being cancelled to much simpler things as festivals that all teenagers look forward to. Although all these changes are surprising and disappointing, I actually think there's no reason to dwell on it too much, as there is absolutely nothing we can do to change it. All of us are going through the exact same thing so we have to support one another and realise there are much greater impacts on other people in society. 

My grandmother had to die alone in a care home this week as my dad couldn't be with her. I face-time my friends almost everyday to try catch up now that I can't see them at school and we often discuss what our future holds due to Coronavirus. Our whole world is changing and we have to do what normal students do in completely untested conditions. For example I am unable to take my exams which could, or will, affect my grades which may make a real difference to my future university offers. I am also aware that many companies are suffering economically which could result in them not being able to hire as many new employees which could leave many students who have just finished school unemployed. I think Coronavirus will effect my generations work ethic as we may go for long periods of time without formal schooling and even forget what it's like to be in a structured educational environment.

Thinking more widely I feel the world is going to become more dependent on online shopping and delivery services as a fear may be instilled in us about venturing out; causing many businesses that are not online to have to adapt to this and if not, could risk having to shut down. This pandemic will reshape our society in many ways. I hope the economy will rebound quickly and possibly flourish as humans respond with a a search for community and relief from stress and boredom. But I fear wealth gaps will widen as they did in World War II. The poor may become poorer and unemployment will rise and people will struggle to supply themselves and their family with essentials, while the rich have a financial cushion in which they are comfortable, and can still afford necessities. This concerns me and my friends, we want to be part of a solution but it feels overwhelming right now.

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