Roaring 20s? More like Great Depression

How I, a senior in high school, am staying sane during quarantine/the mental health crisis that comes with a worldwide pandemic


Sammy Jo Barnes, Co-Editor

Me, writing, early quarantine: “So Corona kinda went from 0 to 100 REAL quick.  I’m a senior and everything kinda got…cancelled.  Of course my entire grade is freaking out about it because, like, “pRoM and gRaDuAtIoN oH my GoSDFHSJD”, but I’m not very phased by it.  I told my therapist I think it’s one of those “everything is out of control so I’m just pushing it all in the back of my head and refusing to acknowledge reality” kinda things, but hey, it’s worked so far!  I have this theory that since I made my emotions about high school non-existent a long time ago, literally none of this makes me sad for some reason. I’m just looking forward to going to college because I have wanted to get the heck out of here for a while.”

And then the news hit.

“Governor Tom Wolf orders Pennsylvania schools closed through rest of academic year”

Suddenly, the hope went away and the reality came crashing onto me.  The nonchalant, “this will get better” attitude dwindled. I will never sit in Mr. Pflugh’s 6th period AP Euro class again.  The physical, old-fashioned newspaper that I was looking forward to producing ever since freshman year won’t happen. I’m not going to run my last race as a senior because all spring sports have been cancelled.  I was doing so well with this quarantine, but the announcement that I’d never be a student at Knoch High School again (an announcement that was inevitable and not surprising, yet shocking all the same) was something very difficult to take in.

This quarantine has taught me a lot.  Mainly, don’t take things for granted.  I never in a million years thought the last time I’d be stepping into KHS as a student would be a random Thursday.  I wish I would have worn that cute outfit, or hugged my track teammates a little tighter. It’s hard whenever you are so used to a way of life and then suddenly it’s taken away from you.

But unfortunately, it is what it is.  Every senior is going through this right now.  Every athlete is mourning their season lost.  I am not the only one.  Not only that, but there are people that have been affected by the actual covid-19–my family has been lucky so far, and that’s something I am so grateful for.  Does that mean my sadness is any less important?  NO! 

Right now, keeping tabs on your mental health is more important than ever. What is the main thing that triggers depression and anxiety?  Change. If you don’t feel “in control” right now, that’s very normal. We can’t go outside and see our friends. We are trapped with family members (which can be awesome, but sometimes a little annoying).  You or a loved one may have lost their job. Watching the news and reading about the skyrocketing number of cases nearby is scary. Entire lives have been flipped upside down. This is when those demons inside our heads come out and start to get panicky.  Lucky for all of us, there are still resources at hand to make the most of the situation AND keep our brains at bay. Therapists are doing facetime calls. We have the lovely “Zoom” to stay connected with our friends and family. It’s starting to get nicer out–go outside and enjoy the weather.  But most importantly, don’t keep the ugly emotions inside to fester. Understand that your feelings are just as valid as anyone else’s, and you should not apologize for being sad just because “you don’t have corona”.

Personally, I have tried to make the most of it.  My friends and I have been using our mailboxes and leaving baked goods and notes.  It brings a smile to my face sending or receiving a “check your mailbox:)” text. This quarantine has definitely made me appreciate the little things.  I miss seeing my pals in person, but being able to read something they wrote in person; it’s different from a text! Some days I sit in my house and let my mind wander about what I would be doing if I were in school right now.  Being isolated isn’t easy. There is a lot of uncertainty, anxiety, and unfamiliar feelings. But staying connected with my friends and creating new traditions helps more than you can even imagine.

Every year on the last day of school, my friend’s and I play the “What time is it?” song from High School Musical.  Though we won’t be doing that this year, I’m grateful for the memories that I did get to make before the lockdown.  I’m grateful for this break to work on myself and to wake up late.  I’m grateful for my teachers who have been great at acclimating everyone to remote learning.  I’m grateful for the Penguins network for the Stanley Cup reruns they televise now that hockey isn’t on.  And I’m grateful for the Knoch community that I know will come out so much stronger when this is over.