The Struggles of Socialization

The+Struggles+of+Socialization

Sirianna Blanck, Staff Writer

As I pulled up to Chamblee High this Monday, it was hard to describe my feelings.

1) I was happy to see the building again. 

2) I was happy because there were more people in the plaza than I had seen since March. 

3) I was scared because there were more people in the plaza than I had seen since March.

On Monday, September 28th, I had my first marching band practice of the semester (Yes, nerdy, I know.) Cross country and football were having practice that afternoon, too. Everyone wore a mask at practice. Everyone had their temperature taken. Everyone tried to be careful. But socializing during Covid times is hard. I watched many people fall into the trap that afternoon. Before and after practice I saw hugs and fist bumps and close conversations. And I don’t blame them. It’s hard not to want to catch up with everyone you recognize. We survived the first wave of a pandemic. We want to talk and hug and catch up. But it’s still not safe to. 

Last week, I saw friends (distanced) in my friend’s backyard. We went swimming and talked for hours. We were safe of course, but I’m sure there were minutes we weren’t. I’ll admit it, because I just wanted to spend time with them like before all this. It’s hard to wear a mask when eating. It’s hard to wear a mask while swimming. We kept our distance and did our best, but it worked to some degree because we were all dedicated to being safe.  As much as we missed the old days, we all recognize the dangers right now. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to get together with my friends if they didn’t. And while I don’t know if I’ll be seeing friends again soon, I just don’t feel comfortable right now, I understand why so many other kids do.

I’m a really safe person. I can count the friends I’ve seen face to face (prior to my Chamblee practice) this year on one hand. I’m always trying to practice social distancing, but it’s hard to do. We’re just teenagers. We’re just kids. This event, this pandemic, is truly going to shape our lives. 

I honestly think it’s easier to see friends online – FaceTime, zoom, chat – because there’s no risk. You don’t have to remember to stay back. You don’t have to keep a mental image of six feet. Yes, the experience isn’t like being in-person, but to me that’s okay. I don’t know about other students, but I find it too hard to follow the rules in-person. I need that screen to remind myself we’re in danger. 

If I feel this way in my free time, how hard is it going to be to keep myself safe at school when I’ll be worried about tests and getting to class on time. I don’t know how sports are going to happen. If every practice is like monday, I predict we’ll be back to virtual in no time. I don’t know how school is going to happen. The only memories coming to my mind right now are the crowded hallways during class change. 

Obviously, we all want to survive. We all want to be safe. But when you haven’t seen someone since March 13th, it’s hard to remember the rules when you’re finally face to face.