By: Haley Guerin
Do you find all of your conversations these days ending in the same drab phrase, “Yeah, these are crazy times.” Everyone’s life has taken a dramatic turn and this phrase can be a comforting confirmation that we are not alone. However, I think it’s safe to say that some people’s lives have changed more than others. Amongst the groups of people encountering serious life changes are college-aged students, particularly Generation Z, which includes individuals born in the mid-to-late 1990s up to the early 2010s. As a college student, I reached out to some of my fellow Gen Zers and asked them how their world has changed as a result of COVID-19.
How has life changed for you due to COVID-19?
Alyssa Sanchez, a rising sophomore studying the psychological sciences at the University of San Diego beautifully states, “My life has gotten slower since COVID-19. I suddenly find myself with a lot of free time which was initially appealing, but has turned rather monotonous. It has taken from me very little compared to most, and from the sidelines I have been able to watch the world band together and break apart.” We can all resonate with Alyssa’s initial enjoyment of extra free time that eventually turned into what feels like too much free time. Alyssa really highlights the experience of Gen Z individuals when she mentions watching the world band together and fall apart. As the generation that grew up on social media, we have been able to witness global life-changing events, including COVID-19, through the eyes of people from all over the world.
How are you monitoring your mental health during these times?
Sam Eason, another rising sophomore studying the psychological sciences at USD, has found various healthy outlets that not only help her keep in touch with her own mental health, but also the mental state of those around her. She explains, “I have been taking time to do yoga and short meditations to kind of check in with how I’m feeling each day and relax a little bit, along with discussing how I feel with my parents when I get stressed. I have also been actively seeking out resources on social media that provide information about mental health so that I am better educated on how to deal with my own anxiety during this time along with developing a better understanding of warning signs in others, and how to help them.” Using social media to help educate herself about mental health, Sam is showing how Gen Zers are finding ways to use social media in productive ways during these difficult times. Like many Generation Z individuals, Sam is educating herself in order to be better equipped to help support others––another trend we see with Gen Z and the BLM movement on social media.
In what ways has COVID19 influenced your day to day relationships (with friends, yourself, social media, family, etc.)?
Ella Vandegrift is a rising sophomore at the University of San Diego studying mechanical engineering. She reflects on the good, the bad, and the ugly of how COVID-19 has changed her relationships, “COVID-19 has definitely impacted my relationships a lot. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family, which has been both positive and negative. I have also been unable to see my friends, so I’ve been spending a lot more time on social media. I think that overall it’s had a negative impact on my relationship with myself. When you spend so much time on social media it is easy to compare yourself and your life to others, so I've been trying to take a step back from that. However, I think quarantine is also a great time to be able to work on yourself. On a friendship level, because COVID-19 is restricting me from seeing my friends, I have lost some of the close friends and connections I once had.” Ella’s complicated relationship with social media during COVID-19 is relatable for many Gen Zers as they find themselves scrolling through Instagram and TikTok for hours. As Ella highlighted, this can be toxic to mental health as it can breed comparison and a negative self image which is an issue Generation Z individuals have been grappling with for several years as the generation raised on social media. Ella also reflects on another Gen Z hot topic during this time which is how they are experiencing their relationships online due to COVID-19. The tight squeeze of a best friend welcoming you into their house has been translated into a smiling, pixelated face on FaceTime.
Do you have any hobbies/recommendations that have helped you through this period of self isolation?
Lexi Monroe, a rising junior at the University of San Diego studying international relations, highlights how she has been approaching self isolation as an opportunity for positive self development. Lexi explains, “I’ve been focusing more on studying. I have picked up drawing. As a nanny I am always trying to find fun things to do to pass the time so we draw a lot and I actually really enjoy it (and am not terrible). As quarantine has started again in CA I am really trying to commit to a workout routine and eat healthier. I’d recommend to really use this time to evaluate who you are and who you want to be. Now that life has slowed for many people there’s plenty of time to develop who you really want to be. Focus on yourself and what makes you happy as well as pushing yourself beyond what you think you’re capable of.” I felt very inspired by the way Lexi is taking advantage of these slow times in order to fashion herself into the person she wants to be. While many Gen-Zers feel that they have missed out on time for self-development because they were forced to come home from college for the spring semester, Lexi shows how many of these college students are being resilient and are continuing to grow their skills outside of the classroom during self isolation. Lexi has found new hobbies that she has enjoyed and has used to these rather slow times as an opportunity to do some inner-reflection in order to continue growing.
Take care babes,
Viv for your V
Want to learn more about Viv for your V? Check out www.vivforyourv.com