By Reese Petrie
Throughout our lives as human beings, we change on a daily basis. From one day to another your hair may have grown less than a centimeter, but it still grew. We notice change in ourselves, we notice change in others, and we notice the world around us changing all the time. We’ve watched one another grow up. There are major changes and there are minor changes. As teenagers in the twenty-first century, we’ve gone through some of the biggest changes that would’ve seemed impossible a year ago.
When we were little kids, we started school at approximately the age of five. We learned how to say the alphabet in the correct order, and write our names in messy handwriting. We started to tie our shoes and read short words. We identified animals and even told our teachers we wanted to be royalty when we grew up. Looking back on it, the change is real. We’re in the midst of growing up, and with that, we’ve learned that responsibility is becoming a big part of ourselves. Whether it’s through our choices in the pandemic or in our high school career choices, we aren’t going to be guided through our lives within our teachers and parents anymore. We have opportunities and we get to make choices. We’ve learned how to identify the right and the wrong, and we learn that making mistakes is a part of life, and it’s only naturally human. We’ve changed throughout the past ten to thirteen years of our lives, and we barely even noticed some of the change, because growing up so fast seemed so minor all this time.
Major change occurs when we least expect it. Most of the time it doesn’t feel real. Almost a year ago, every single person in the world was experiencing the same life changing event, a pandemic. The CoronaVirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, changed everyone. We wouldn’t have thought we’d need to wear a face mask covering when going into a public area, or that we’d be doing school from home. I find the home schooling aspect of it all funny because we all know that we’ve told our parents at least once that we wished we were homeschooled, and now all we want back is the human interaction that attending school in person gave us. This virus took our normal, everyday lives away, and has really put into perspective what major change is. As students, we’re going through the biggest period of change in our lives, and the coronavirus has taken over every aspect of normal we had. School taught us much more than just math and English, but also showed us the importance of getting out of the house and interacting with our peers. We, as a young generation, will walk through life not knowing what it was like to have a full high school experience, and for that we can’t blame anyone or anything but a virus.
Throughout our minor and major changes, I feel the teenage world has become so much more. We learned to interact with people on levels we never thought were necessary. We learned how to occupy ourselves through long periods of time when it felt like we had no one. I think the biggest thing we learned is how to make others smile online. Through social media apps like TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube we have been able to smile, laugh, and find some joy from videos that are just fifteen seconds or maybe even an hour. Even with all of the negative outcomes a global pandemic brought, teenagers across the globe have been able to be positive, and been able to share their positivity with others who need it. The evolution of technology and its purpose has changed so much within the past ten years, and social media has evolved right alongside it. The power social media holds in the lives of the younger generation is extraordinary. The change we as teenagers have experienced has been different than what any other era of teens has ever seen. The idea of normal human interaction was taken for granted, and through the quarantine experience teens all over the world really learned what it felt like to be vulnerable and alone. If you asked the current era of teens how their lives have changed in the past twelve months a year ago, maybe they’d say their hair grew a little longer.