#LifeWithout: Distractions

On March 13th, 2020 schools all across the country shut down. Then, it was malls. And restaurants. And parks. And churches. And Disney World. And colleges. And just about everything in between.

As COVID cases skyrocketed across the country, so did panic. Toilet paper quickly became out of stock in most stores. Thousands of businesses shut down due to bankruptcy. Unemployment rates were at the lowest point since the Great Depression. Almost every sports team’s season was suspended. Thousands of people were hospitalized due to the virus.

While these circumstances are probably the worst we’ll ever see in our lifetime, COVID has definitely gotten rid of a lot of distractions.

Since mid-March, nearly every state has mandated stay-at-home orders. These orders strongly recommended everyone who wasn’t an essential worker to stay home, in hopes of flattening the curve.

For me, this mostly meant no school, no sports, and not being able to see my friends. Almost every activity I was involved in quickly came to a halt and I had to forget nearly all my plans for the rest of the spring and summer. While I definitely have missed all of the things I enjoyed pre-COVID, I have appreciated all of this time off. In fact, I’ve noticed that I am much less stressed than I used to be.

But most importantly, COVID has given me the opportunity to understand more about big issues in our country, including systematic racism, police brutality, and the 2020 election. Ever since school let out, I have had more time to involve myself with the news, which is not something I normally do. I, like a lot of people my age, get the majority of my news from social media. I think platforms, like Instagram, Twitter, and even Tik Tok are huge learning opportunities. Unlike most news channels, social media gives us a chance to hear first hand from BIPOC. I can open Instagram and see videos of Black people being murdered, or I can open Tik Tok and see peaceful protesters being tear gassed by the police. While these graphic videos can definitely cause a lot of trauma and numbness for some, I have personally found that they have opened my eyes.

Racial justice protest in downtown Durham on May 30th, 2020.

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