Rapid change is all many have known for months: staying at home, being isolated from many friends and family, events being cancelled, and school being online. It has truly been hard for everyone. Yet, many people have taken this time of change and ran with it, allowing change not to be a bad thing, but a positive. Various students put in the extra time we all had into working on improving themselves.
“I grew as a person,” junior Vanessa Valerio said. “I really found myself.”
This type of growth certainly was inevitable for many students. Living this pandemic is not only a life changing experience, but it also gives people the opportunity and tools to change aspects about themselves.
However, the question may arise, was quarantine and being out of school the direct reason for this personal growth that many have experienced? Valerio believes so.
“It’s better to not have other people’s opinions when focusing on yourself,” she said.
Personal growth and change can not happen at the hands of someone else. Being alone for so many months gives people the time to better understand what they need to be the best version of themselves.
“I’m really grateful for what quarantine brought for me,” Valerio said. She is not the only person that was thankful for the growth quarantine brought.
“Being away from everyone in general has made it easier to accept things about myself,” junior Nova Beaird said.
Mental and emotional growth is not the only type of change that people have undergone throughout quarantine, as physical changes have also been made by many people. A change of hair color, fashion style, makeup, or how one presents themselves does not just satisfy the controlled-change many people were looking for during this time, but gives them a new outlet of expression.
Expressing one’s self authentically to the world allows them to be happier because they are living as their true self. Yet, too often people choose to hide or dull down parts of themselves to appeal to what is expected, and not be ostracised among their peers. Quarantine has allowed these people to be their true selves.
Beaird was one of these people who began living as their true self over this time of isolation.
“I finally confirmed and figured out my gender identity,” she said.
So, does this mean that the school is lacking in being a safe space for students to express themselves freely? Yes, to an extent, but this is not entirely the school’s fault.
“The school administration definitely tries, but the people in it definitely do make the environment toxic,” Valerio said.
Standing out among the crowd is hard for many, and students that continuously put down others for not blending in, or harass people for their differences is a huge problem in the school.
“If you don’t fit in, you get bullied,” Beaird said.
How would one go about fixing this? Who knows to be honest, but a good place to start is for faculty to take more of a notice when students who are expressing themselves in a school appropriate manner are being put down by others, and then taking action. Students can no longer live in a world where differences and changes are looked down upon. But nonetheless, these changes that people have undergone over quarantine have been for the better. This global event has given people the time to work on themselves and better who they are. With these changes in mind, everyone can continue forward as their genuine selves and hopefully impact other people into changing for the better as well.