On the 12th of March, I returned from a college trip to New York, merely hours before the whole city locked down. Whilst I was aware of Covid's presence there, it almost didn't feel real. Rules were not yet in place and it felt like everyday life with extra hand washing and anti-bacterial gel. Though of course, after returning and finding out that New York went into lockdown just after we left really put it into perspective. Only days later, a lockdown was announced here and my family decided to follow some guidelines straight away. This was difficult for me because I hadn't been able to see my college friends for a week and now we all had to stay inside.
I overcame that quickly though and turned to social media and apps like Zoom to communicate with my in-real-life friends as well as Internet friends. I participated in many Zoom calls with my close friends because we missed each other so much. We were all just boxes on a screen though and we craved face to face meet ups and missed each other’s hugs.
I feel that I bonded with and grew closer with some of my Internet friends because we were all in the same boat, stuck inside, not being able to see our in-real-life friends. We had not only a lot of time to pass, but also a need for communication. We shared our experiences and what we were doing to pass the time. Some of us were baking bread, brownies or cakes – I got into Asian cooking. Others had found new hobbies like crocheting or painting or DIY. We shared a lot of these things on Instagram, sending each other pictures of our creativity.
Social media, Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify have taken up a large part of my time in lockdown. I have been interacting with many people online and watching a lot of TV shows. Being someone who loves Kpop, I have been keeping up with new releases of my favourite groups such as BTS, Stray Kids and Blackpink. And there has been so much content created over this period! I streamed many music videos and watched many livestreams including the ones created during the lockdown for entertainment, such as 'Dear Class of 2020' which was made to celebrate university students who were graduating (I may or may not have made my parents stay up past midnight to watch BTS's performance on that). I have discovered a lot of new music which has taken up a LOT of my phone’s storage space (oops!).
Over this six month period, Covid 19 has not been the only problem that has cropped up for us. Racism has caused The Black Lives Matter movement to sweep through us in an incredible torrent of protests, fundraisers, and petitions. Personally, I have been sharing posts on social media as well as signing petitions and educating those who didn’t understand and/or wanted to help. I’ve been very engaged with raising awareness about this cause and causes like Black TRANS Lives matter too. Being part of the LGBTQ+ community myself, I feel very passionate about it. I went to a Black Lives Matter march locally with some friends. The atmosphere was a mixture of anger, pride, and euphoria. It was an incredible experience and I'm extremely proud to be part of this movement.
I feel that generally I've been more politically active, and I've been more invested in the news. Not only for our country and our (very slow) progress through this, but other places where suffering is at another whole level, such as Yemen who have had the virus hit amid a humanitarian crisis. I've signed petitions, spread information and donated money because at least these are things I can do from home to help.
By Amina, age 17, September 2020