Isolation tough on teens, some finding new outlets

teens during lockdown
Clockwise: London Massey stays up to date on her online schoolwork. Olivia Tabaka and Kenneth Colin Roedl spend more time outdoors to combat isolation during COVID-19.

By Lea Scavetta Stuttgart Citizen volunteer

Quarantine has been difficult for some Stuttgart High School students, with many teens losing touch with their routines, missing friends and not being able to participate in after school activities.

Even though pandemic restrictions affect their social lives, teens continue to persevere and find unique ways to keep themselves busy during the week.

Olivia Tabaka, 15, a sophomore, said staying at home forced her family to get creative.

“Every week, my family and I have themed dinners such as Disney-themed, where we dress up as our favorite Disney characters,” Tabaka said. “It really brings the family together and we have a good laugh.”

Some students feel as if their lives took a pause. For Kenneth Colin Roedl, 16, a junior, restrictions under the coronavirus at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart allowed more time for reflection.

“During quarantine, I’ve been able to slow down and focus more on myself instead of worrying about club meetings or college applications,” Roedl said.

He’s now taking more time to pursue hobbies such as tennis and poetry. The junior class president, Roedl is also focusing on school-related hobbies.

Students might be far apart but through virtual school and social media they are united. Stuttgart students running for student leadership positions have been using online platforms to get exposure since the once-traditional posters around the school will not be useful for the upcoming school year.

Other teens said they need to keep themselves occupied and are trying to create a somewhat normal routine. Sophomore London Massey, 16, spends time keeping up with her virtual school work and watching movies.

“I’ve been trying to keep myself busy,” Massey said. “I’ve been going on walks with my dog more than I ever did before.”

Some teens are also becoming more in tune with their surroundings and nature. Spending more time outside has had a positive impact on students. For many, putting down their phones and getting outside seems to help. Creating new ways to have fun with friends and family while being distance-conscious is another.

“I recently had a ‘distant picnic’ with my friend,” Tabaka said. “It was good to see them and to get outside for once.”