Quarantine affects students’ mental health

During quarantine in April, many students saw it as an opportunity to take time to themselves. Some saw the extended break as something required for their mental health, whereas some were bored and wanted to see their friends again. Everyone needs breaks every now and then, but was the isolation from society prolonged, or was it needed to recover from the national disaster our world has come to?

Junior Emma Pettit had recently moved to the Cedar Falls school district from Hudson right before schools shut down in March. Moving schools at the same time as the world shuts down is not the best way to make friends. Pettit would use being with the people she loved as a coping mechanism. Being isolated with only her mother created a void between her and the things she took for granted. 

Cell phones also have had a negative effect on Pettit’s mental health during the quarantine, said Pettit, who also said it would be more beneficial for her in the future to take breaks from social media in the long run. Pettit said she believes that social media has so many positive things that come with it, but along with those good things, come negative. “Cyberbullying is a big part of social media, people become insecure, pictures get leaked. There are so many negatives that come with the positives,” Pettit said. 

She also said she has been taking a lot of mental health days, which have helped her tremendously. “I actually feel motivated to go to my classes the next day and catch up,” she said. Pettit said school gives her anxiety due to the fact she is constantly participating and doesn’t want to embarrass herself. She tends to use her phone as a distraction from the stress school causes her. 

She additionally said that quarantine helped Pettit discover her true self. “I used the time to my advantage. I did a lot of crafts. I cleaned my room constantly. I did a lot of self-care. I would definitely go under lockdown again,” Pettit said. 

Freshman Abigail Pearson said that too much technology is bad for one’s mental health and overall well being. “It distracts everyone from the real world,” Pearson said. She tries to take breaks every now and then from her devices that she uses daily. “Seeing what everyone else in society is doing makes you feel insecure and bad about yourself,” Pearson said when asked why social media harms certain individuals. 

She said she loves social media because she can connect with her friends and family easier, aside from the overwhelming amount of stress it causes if she’s on the Internet too much. Pearson said that taking breaks from her phone allows her to focus more on other important aspects of her life and helps her not become as distracted. 

Pearson said that she doesn’t believe being isolated from her friends during quarantine last March affected her mental health. “We all need breaks from society, and being less connected helps us be more ourselves,” she said.

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