Most of us remember going to our debs, starting university, going out for our first legal drink, and even our first date. Yet, for a lot of teenagers and young adults, all these life experiences have been halted due to the pandemic that we are facing. Normal experiences that people should be having are now happening within homes and on laptop screens. I myself finished my University degree doing zoom classes and I am not sure if an in person graduation will be going ahead which is not how I planned to finish my degree.
The fear of missing out
The overwhelming sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) lingers over 2020. As someone who is a young adult, I find myself worried that I’m missing important moments of my life due to the Covid-19 outbreak. This is something that a lot of young adults, teenagers and kids are feeling right now. Everything is changing and a lot of those changes are unprecedented. From schools and universities, to work and social life, everything is different to the way it was in 2019, this also begs the question of will life ever go back to the way it once was.
I conducted a survey that is made up of young people of different age groups either in university, school or working.
So are young people today missing life milestones? Let’s look at the results. Click into the survey images for a clearer look!
Back to school
Heading to your first day of school or university is a massive milestone in a young person’s life. However that experience has drastically changed in 2020 due to the coronavirus. Many young people this year who finished up secondary school missed some big moments in a teenagers life, such as going to their debs, graduating from secondary school and saying goodbye to friends. Memories which should have been happy and full of excitement, have now been tainted with a wave of sadness for a lot of young people.
According to www.gov.ie schools have put in many restrictions and guidelines for the classrooms. These include
- children with symptoms of COVID-19 do not attend school
- there is rapid identification and appropriate management of children who develop symptoms of COVID-19 while in school
- there is physical distancing between students and staff
These restrictions and distances will be a major change for young people across Ireland, school is not going to be what they remember.
According to the survey conducted the majority of people who participated felt that it was unfair on secondary students who missed out on their debs or Leaving Cert. Whereas only a small percentage felt as though the leaving cert situation seemed easier than years previous but felt sorry for the students who were unable to finish up school and have a proper graduation and debs.
Incoming students who are starting their first year of university, will miss out on things such as freshers week and orientation, which are great tools for meeting your classmates and making friends at the beginning of the year. However, most colleges are now offering classes online through zoom calls and online resources. Personally, I am supposed to be graduating from my undergrad in November, but the likelihood of a real in person graduation seems very slim at the moment. It is likely that, instead, my university will offer an online graduation via zoom.
The worries and difficulties for making new friends can be seen in the workforce as well as in incoming university students. According to the survey 47.4% of young people have found it harder to make friends due to Covid-19 affecting the workplace. However, online college is not all bad there are many pros to being able to study and learn from the comfort of your own home. Take it from someone who just experienced finishing up college online, I found it easier to study at home than in college as I wasn’t distracted by my friends or the college bar!
- Here is a similar article on erasmus students during Covid-19,
- International Students: Socialising in the Era of Covid – Babylon
Dating through a pandemic
For many young people the dating scene has been halted, as bars, clubs and restaurants have been shut down, reopened and shut down again. It is hard to meet someone the way you would pre Covid-19 as many places that young people would congregate in have been shut down. This has caused many young people to become very active on dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble and Hinge. Many people are chatting on these apps, as young people’s social life has been hugely limited. Whether it’s chatting to people due to boredom or loneliness it has been a tool to keep the mind occupied. According to www.her.ie “suddenly, there was a point in chatting to strangers online for extended periods of time. For something to do, for someone to talk to. To feel a tad less lonely, if nothing else”.
You can see from the survey results how covid-19 has affected some young people’s love lives. However, from the results conducted only 34.2% are currently using dating apps.
The sudden changes to life, along with the fear and anxiety surrounding the virus itself has caused. People from all age groups are experiencing mental health problems. According to www.HSE.ie many young people will feel unsettled as they adapt to a new normal. Anxiety and stress levels will change as the guidelines and restrictions change, many will experience ups and downs throughout the year, especially now that is coming into the winter months. It is important for people to be mindful of others, be there for friends and family, listen to them when needed and try to remain empathetic.
Check out our article on self care here
When asked in the survey, the responses for feeling anxious about the future was an overwhelming 89% voted yes they do in fact feel anxious. The future is something that, right now, seems scary, different and new. A lot of us struggle with change and so much has changed this year. When asked about mental health throughout the pandemic, the result were as follows.
As you can see many voted that the pandemic has negatively affected their mental health with a small percentage saying it was much worse at the beginning but has improved now. I also asked if they felt their life was on hold, 74.4% answered yes, they did feel as though their life is on hold. This feeling is definitely evident with young people today as many important moments in life are indeed being missed due to the virus.
However, young people are adapting and overcoming many of the challenges they are being faced with. The negative impacts of the virus won’t last forever, if people continue to be empathetic, understanding and kind towards one another. As well as continue to be there for their friends and family, young people will come out the other end of this virus stronger than before.