Social distancing has slowed down life, redefining normal


Myra Bajwa

Soccer nets and basketball hoops are reappearing as people suddenly find themselves with more down time.

The Coronavirus outbreak has changed the way the world operates, at least for the time being. Families are spending more time indoors, surrounded by each other. Gone are the busy days packed with sports schedules and social events. As a result, many Metea students are finding themselves with time to rediscover old hobbies at home, hopefully building habits that will last into the post-quarantine “new normal.”

Students have been showcasing their baked goods and crafts on social media with the Instagram “Stay Home” sticker to encourage other students to practice social distancing. Others have been taking time away from social media to focus on other activities, such as puzzles. 

“I’ve learned to appreciate doing things around the house that I may not have had time for before,” senior Rissa Bajusz said. 

Parents and teachers are also taking advantage of the social distancing guidelines to create a slower lifestyle, whether at home or school. Assignments are now due on Friday, leaving students and  families free in the evening to prioritize meal times

“I think that this slower pace that we have is something that I would love for us to carry with us. We are all a lot more intentional and a lot more discerning about the choices we make,” English teacher Casey Solgos said.

Over the past few decades, advancements in technology have created a culture that is always plugged in and able to constantly access information on the 24-hour news cycle. Coupled with the increase in extracurriculars for students and the millennial work culture, it seems that Americans are always running like hamsters on a wheel. Now, students are being more mindful of the amount of news they consume. 

“I think that just getting better at having that balance is really valuable for us as a culture and as individuals,” Solgos said.

Metea students are no stranger to packed schedules, with many extracurricular activities to choose from competing with classes, work, and family obligations. Students have the opportunity to get involved in any or multiple areas of the school and pursue any interests. However, all of this comes at the expense of family time or a healthy sleep schedule. 

“It was a hard adjustment at first, but now I feel like I have more time to work out, which is something I always wanted to do,” junior Brooke Pegues said. 

However, not everyone has the opportunity to slow down their schedules and relax. For many, this time is extraordinarily stressful and comes with additional responsibilities around the house. Some students do not feel safe in their homes and miss the comfort that Metea provides. For better or for worse, this period of social distancing has changed society’s normal routines. 

“Suddenly, the kid who was just a student is now the primary caregiver,” Solgos said.

There does not seem to be a timeline for when Illinois will begin to reopen, and most agree that society will not return to the way it was before. People may be more hesitant to shake hands like before, inequalities in the healthcare system will be exposed, and the world as a whole will be grieving. But hopefully, some changes will be positive, and the new normal will fix what was broken before.