Character development: how students have evolved in isolation


Self-portrait by Valerie Chavez

COVID-19 has impacted the world in a way that we couldn’t have imagined. Many were affected financially, physically, and emotionally. Among those are students like us who have undergone significant changes in not only their everyday lives but also in their mannerisms. When we return to school we will be completely different people than when we left. We interviewed two subjects whom we will call Sophomore A and Sophomore B.

Sophomore A realized that they have changed by caring more about social justice issues.

“Changes I see in myself during quarantine are that now I’m more of a just person than I was before. Before quarantine I wouldn’t take world issues or harm to other people as seriously as I do now. By acknowledging that, I was able to improve my morals.”

This same sophomore stated, “Distance learning has definitely affected my social skills. I used to be really outgoing and ready to talk to people but now I’m nervous to go back in person because I don’t know how to interact with people as well as I did before. So this does affect my mentality in terms of how I speak to people.” 

The isolation that students have experienced during distance learning has impacted not only their social skills but also their friendships. 

Sophomore B stated, “It has affected how I interact with my friends since I have stopped interacting with most of my friends and only talk to my small group.” 

Students have had a shift in their friendship circles. Most of them have either lost a friend or gained some new ones. This is mainly because since a lot of us have become our more authentic selves, we’ve been able to see which people we have more in common with. 

Sophomore A said, “I did notice that I wasn’t as close with some people as I used to think I was. For example, some friends I talked to daily at school haven’t been in contact with me over the quarantine period while only a few of them still kept in touch with me.”

Students have also loosened up on their assignment punctuality. Since schools have gone online, and teachers became a lot more lenient with students turning in late work, a lot of students  have taken advantage of that and have stopped turning in assignments at all. Those posts you see about kids having over 40 missing assignments, they’re no joke. And the numbers will not go down. 

Sophomore B said, “My behavior has definitely changed in ways where I’ve become more anxious, restless, and my motivation is slowly deteriorating. My mindset has changed in a way where it is sort of concerning….I’m finding most things pointless to do anymore.” 

Not only has the isolation caused students social anxiety, it also has affected their overall confidence. 

Sophomore A stated, “At the beginning of the lockdown I had begun to feel confident in myself in terms of appearance but soon after I noticed that I had started eating more because I was at home all the time so it resulted in weight gain. This wasn’t something I was used to so it affected my confidence in myself a lot.” 

Before the lockdown, school was an escape for students from home-life. They were able to just go to a separate building away from their toxic family dynamic and learn with their friends in a safe environment. But when school went online last year, that was taken away from them.  

Sophomore A said, “It is pressuring to be at home especially with a family that is very judgmental and picky about everything. The stress and things they say is getting to me.”

Since students have become less occupied with school, they’ve begun to pay more attention to world events. They are more aware about their environment and world issues. 

Sophomore A said, “My perspective on the world has opened up and I’m realizing there are more problems in the world than people are telling and my faith in humanity went down.” 

On August 16, school will be returning and this return will bring multiple challenges to the lives of students. They will have to re-adjust to the fast pace of school and home life and find that balance.