Lillie is a teenage intern who is spending a few days with us at News Mississippi. I affectionately call her “half-pint”. As a young lady in the middle of a pandemic, I wanted to know what was on her mind as we move through this uncharted and sometimes frightening territory.
I had a few simple questions and she was gracious enough to share her thoughts. It was enlightening for me and I’m sure most kids, and probably most adults, are feeling the same.
What has it been like to go through the Pandemic?
Lillie: It has been a very confusing and interesting time for people in my age group and for me. For example, in the beginning, kids/students weren’t testing positive for COVID-19, so it gave us more reason not to be concerned or careful. Also, it is an adjustment because your whole life you go to school and take classes at school. And then you have to learn and adjust to an entirely new way of learning and living.
What do you miss the most?
Lillie: My freedom. I can’t go anywhere or do anything, besides stay home, go on walks, or go drive around. And yes, you can go shopping or go out to eat but it doesn’t mean you should. Also, I haven’t been able to see any of my friends and as a teenager, that’s one of the most important things to us. We see these same people every year and never not see them for more than 3 months, and now we’ve been quarantined for 5 going on 6 months.
What have you learned through this experience?
Lillie: To learn and do with what you do and don’t have. Also, not focus on the past. I’ve also never been more self-conscious about where I am going and if am or am not protecting myself or others.
Do you think there has been anything positive to come out of this?
Lillie: Yes. In every aspect of life, yes. In school, in our communities, at home, in government, restaurants, public facilities, etc. will all come out of this cleaner and safer.
Do you have any fears?
Lillie: Yes. Fear by description is “to be afraid of (someone or something) that is likely to be dangerous, painful, or a threat”. And for me, coronavirus falls into all of those categories. Recently my grandmother had a stroke and is in the hospital right now. I am fearful of course for her health and I am fearful of the fact that she is in the hospital. When you have the flu, which most teenagers, kids, and adults have had, it’s not always a death threatening scenario, nor does it have long-lasting aftereffects. But COVID-19 does. And for most kids, at least for me, it’s scary watching or listening to the news. Life and death is a serious thing, and it can be a very fearful thing, especially during this time.
What joy have you discovered during this time?
Lillie: For me, I have learned many new skills and fun hobbies to do and help pass the time. One of them being fishing and competing in a virtual bass competition (I lost). I have also enjoyed going on long walks with my dad. Another skill I have learned is playing the piano, and a fun one has been making TikToks.
What are your thoughts on returning to school?
Lillie: I would personally not be comfortable going back to school. Having to wear masks all day and other safety protections. Yes, it is necessary, but it is uncomfortable. If you do have the equipment to learn and study from home I feel you should have the option to.
As adults, we are good at compartmentalizing crisis, pushing through the hard times, and staying strong for those around us. Now, more than ever before, it is very important to talk to our children and hear what they have to say. Often, they are more in-tune to circumstances and even wiser than we realize.