by Lauren Tkach, 04/09/2020, Traverse City, MI

Middle School 6-8 Category

COVID-19, Coronavirus, whatever name you call it, there is no denying that the world-wide pandemic has become a part of our daily life. Schools, businesses, and everything in between are on lockdown with no definite end in sight. Our national and local economies are in distress causing concern for our future and our populations’ wellbeing.
Being a teenager through this crisis brings a unique perspective. You have a greater appreciation for what you have, but you long for what you have lost. I love the support of my family, but being with them 24/7 can get frustrating. FaceTime, messenger, and social media are the only connection to the outside world as life gets a little bit more lonely each day. As difficult as being trapped in my house may seem, the threat of getting infected just to get a little social interaction isn’t worth the risk.
When I talk to my friends about the crisis, it’s common to hear them share sympathy for healthcare workers. As much as I agree, I feel like there are many other workers that are risking their health for our community but not getting the same levels of recognition. Grocery store employees, police, and delivery workers are a few examples of non-healthcare employees who still head into work each day with the potential of contracting the virus. The medical community does face plenty of struggles that are more notable, such as direct contact with infected patients, lack of equipment, overflow of cases, and more, but all essential workers during the pandemic deserve our respect and gratitude. All of these workers need to feel appreciated. They need to know that their actions have not gone unnoticed by the millions of citizens they are trying to protect and support.
At first, I was oblivious to how Traverse City would react to the closing of restaurants, stores, hotels, and other businesses. After talking with my father, I realized that without tourists’ money being spent in our local economy, many of the venues we love may financially struggle and possibly go out of business. This issue also puts many peoples’ jobs at risk, causing many families to experience financial troubles. Summer is an extremely busy season for Northern Michigan so it’s crazy to think that the crowded streets of Cherry Festival and other gatherings may no longer be a possibility this year. Summer sports, family reunions, and even going to the beach will have to wait while COVID-19 runs its course.
Quarantine is a challenge on its own. Having no real human interaction outside of our homes becomes bland and depressing. As hard as it gets to push through, I try to remember doing the things I love with friends, cousins, and teammates. It’s incredible to think that someday our generation’s children could come home from school and tell us they learned about the virus that we experienced first hand, assuming kids ever actually go back to school.