An increasingly virtual world?

I think it’s safe to say that most of us are ready to leave the year 2020 behind. It was the year that kept on giving. Month after month, there was always some type of new unpredictability. As a student, seeing the chaos that ensued due to the pandemic was, quite frankly, unnerving. One more year until we graduate high school and are released into the “real world.” For many, having to quarantine and unable to see friends was unbearable. For me, it gave me some perspective on all the years I spent at school, and the exhaustion I felt from it.

I was now trapped between adolescence and adulthood. However, this purgatory was one I felt safe in. Stuck at home, seeing the world pass by through the screen, I could pretend I would forever stay inside. Pretend I would never need to graduate. I didn’t have to break my thirteen-year routine of going to school. I could hopelessly teeter on the edge of a cliff for all of eternity.

Graduating would mean the end and the beginning. Though they now seem so trivial, the trips and the parties we were promised growing up, are now impossible. The sense of normalcy we once knew no longer exists. We will soon fall off that cliff and become the adults we so viciously criticized for seemingly leaving the world in shambles.

With the pandemic, time at first seemed to come to a halt. However, to me, time also seemed like such a scarce and limited resource. Coming from a teenager, someone who has yet to graduate high school and experience the world, this statement is laughable, is it not? Perhaps, but with everything moving so fast and with our very earth deteriorating, I can’t help but constantly feel like time is running out.

Indeed, the pandemic and the year 2020 has put forth the class and race inequities that run deep in our society. Many could say that I, along with many other teenagers, have a pessimistic view of our world. I just think it’s our reality and the sooner we face it, the sooner we might be able to meaningfully change our futures for the better.

The pandemic emphasized our dependence and need for technology. Teenagers’ use of technology is something we often get criticized for. However, during quarantine, everyone was forced to use technology if they wanted to keep some semblance of a connection to the rest of the world.

The negative effects our phones and computers have on us can be worrying, but I know that for many, technology is a source of comfort. Living through our screens was our form of escapism during quarantine. Technology will continue to play a big part in our lives; therefore, it is important to understand it so we can make sure it positively impacts our futures.

The pandemic has enabled us all to reevaluate our standing in the world. For teenagers, we got to learn how to quickly adapt to an ever-changing situation and learn how to work differently. This global event has also propelled us all faster and deeper into a technology-driven world. Our generation of teenagers is distinguished by our technological upbringing. I certainly wonder what our next steps will be in what seems like an increasingly virtual world.

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