Don’t lose connections in social isolation.

Brett Zimmerman, Staff Writer

After a week of online schooling I have come to a realization. I have more time to mull over my own thoughts than I have ever cared to have. 

 

For many students, school is a place where they can find a sense of self. The kind of activities they participate in, the clubs they join, the friends they make, and the classes they take all determine what kind of student and what kind of person they are in the eyes of their peers and mentors.

 

For some, schooling is everything. It’s the only thing they have ever known and, more importantly, it is always prioritized. Others have found external benefits in coming to school everyday that make them who they are. Whether it be socially, intellectually or otherwise, the structure of school has molded young adults a quantifiable identity meant to be expanded upon or changed in due time.

 

Students have long been told they once they graduate a new chapter in life will begin and they will access a more direct path towards discovering what kind of person they are going to be. What their identity will be. School is simply a laboratory for an identity for the final goal of the experiment being to create a starting point. 

 

What happens when that laboratory for an artificial identity goes away? 

 

Students coming of age during this extraordinarily abnormal time in history have been put in the uncomfortable position of having to answer that question early.. There is a good chance that this school year will lack the resolution needed to propel seniors into the real world. Beyond that, students regardless of age are being forced out of their routine.

 

School is no longer the focal point of life or the catalyst for social interaction. With the abridged curriculum and the endless hours locked in what feels like a cage; my patience quickly wears into existentialism and crisis. 

 

Not only are students forced to grapple for a sense of self with entirely too much time to think it over, but we are forced to do it alone with no experiences to work off of. The comradery between students is missing in this period of self-isolation and it is sorely needed for those graduating in May. 

 

The end of high school was not designed to be experienced alone, and contrary to the name of the concept a “sense of self” cannot be discovered by one’s self. 

 

Experiences make us who we are. These days valued experiences with the capacity for discovering self worth are fickle. Why is that? Because experiences require meaningful human connection, something that has become harder than ever to access. 

 

This quarantine, don’t lose sight of what is important. Distractions are not adventures. Keeping busy has no inherent value. Knowledge means nothing without someone to share it with. We have more resources to connect with others than we’ve ever had before, use them.