• Brandon Reyes

Our New Normal

At Clayton Valley this year, the once filled hallways are empty, without a student in sight. It’s been around nine months since any of us have last had school, and the new normal became truer than any of us ever could have foreseen.

“The New Normal” is what many like to call the online school and Zoom sessions that fill the students' days. The way we now connect is a new concept to many, filled with FaceTime calls and gaming sessions instead of real contact. Connection is one thing that’s been changed to fit the new normal we experience everyday, how we connect with friends and family especially. An example I see most often is birthday parties, a once harmless family gathering now being held over a group call or a Zoom meeting. Holidays this year are to be celebrated apart, not together which makes me reflect on how this has impacted and will continue to impact the mental well being of students and parents alike.

I know many people who are relying heavily on friends and family for emotional and physical support. Personally, starting this school year was rough and self motivation is a hard thing to come by as a teenager. Many of my peers have been struggling with the school year,on the other hand I know a handful of people who enjoy it much more than regular school. For some, being in a room alone can help anxiety much more than out in a classroom. There are positives and negatives of online school, but it’s different for everybody and difficult to predict whether or not it's something you can get used to. I know my own room has turned more and more into a safe space. It helps me escape the world of school, and everything that goes inside of it. Some of my peers have said the same thing to me when asked about it.

“We’ll be tech-dependent for the long haul.” says BBC Tech Reporter Zoe Kleinman. The fact that we are much more tech dependent is true, however parents, teachers, and children have been limited to use it as their sole form of connection. From classrooms to work, and from work to YouTube, technology has played a large role in our “ New Normal”.

There are many other things that have affected our way of life in this pandemic, including self care, politics and the fight against racism that we are facing in the midst of a global pandemic. Ultimately, it is about finding ways to make our “new normal” fit into our lives while not allowing it to consume us in a way that we might not be able to remember the way it was. It’s about finding things that bring you happiness and working through the hard stuff. For me, my friends and my family help me do that. What helps you?

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