How the Pandemic Changed Us: High Schoolers Share Their Perspectives

Senior Education Editor
How the Pandemic Changed Us:  High Schoolers Share Their Perspectives

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We’ve heard so much about how the pandemic disrupted learning and how isolating it was for students. Their mental health is now getting widespread attention, and the Centers for Disease Control found more than a third of U.S. high school students experienced sadness or hopelessness during the pandemic.

For teens who started high school and college during the pandemic, the switch from remote to online schooling came in the prime of adolescent development, when they were biologically wired to become more independent. This is partly why our XQ Learner Outcomes encourage them to become original thinkers for an uncertain world and generous collaborators ready to solve tomorrow’s problems. We’re proud to sponsor this latest episode of the podcast This Teenage Life (TTL). 

As the 2021-22 school year came to a close, with most schools back to class in-person, TTL asked teens who entered high school and college in the pandemic to discuss how the changes in learning affected them socially, academically, and emotionally.

In California, 14 year-old Jayden said she and her friends don’t want to talk about how much they lost by starting high school online before going in person. “I basically just had my first year of high school and now I’m going supposedly into my third year,” she said.

“Being back after COVID is so strange,” added Lydia, 13, who lives in New York. “I think we’re carrying all this weight and grief. And because we live in this really fast-paced, fast-moving society we don’t get time to really grieve for everything we lost–even if it’s just to take time to grieve the schooling that we couldn’t have or the sleepovers, the family dinners, all of these things we’ve lost.”

This Teenage Life is a podcast made by and for teens. TTL features diverse teen voices and helps them share their stories about issues that are relevant to their lives such as: when they feel seen by their teachers; what classes mattered most to them in high school; and feelings about loneliness, body image, grief about climate change, and destigmatizing periods.