How Gen Z is navigating life during the COVID-19 pandemic


photocourtesy of Loralei Dawson

Dawson embracing her own sense of style in the midst of the pandemic.

Tatyana Salem, Co-Editor-in-Chief

A survey conducted on 47 teens between the ages of 14 and 19 on The Eagle Times-News Instagram showed that 91% of the teens polled feel that the pandemic has severely influenced their life views. Carmen DeChaine (21’), an Arroyo Grande high school (AGHS) varsity cheerleader and member of the Varsity STUNT team, feels as though she has truly discovered herself throughout quarantine.

DeChaine posing for a photo before the pandemic began. (photo courtesy of Carmen DeChaine)

“I’ve [become] more assertive, more into current events, [and] I care less about what people think of me. I used to care a lot about [what others thought of me], and [even though] that’s something I’ve been working on for many years, I feel like quarantine definitely helped me [to say] ‘I don’t care what people think of me.’”

The current state of the world also led DeChaine to a crucial realization.

“You have to spend a lot of time with yourself, so I’ve been able to sit down with myself and go ‘okay, I have to be stuck with me. How can I work on loving myself, and expressing myself?’”

Along with her ongoing journey with self-love, DeChaine has realized the importance of seizing opportunities when they come her way.

“With the pandemic, what I’ve learned is you need to do things when they come to you… life-changing events happen and you should do whatever you can [while] you can,” said DeChaine.

DeChaine posing for a photo in the midst of the pandemic. (photo courtesy of Carmen DeChaine )  

Loralei Dawson (22’), a member of the AGHS band program, has found ways to cope with the hardships that quarantine has to offer as well.

“For myself, if I stay being sad I’m going to be sad, but if I have hope and I strive to be happy as a person, even if it may not be the happiest of times, I can still find joy, I can still find that happiness just as long as I seek for it.”

As the pandemic continues to allow the young adults of Generation Z to explore new depths of emotional maturity, they begin to prioritize their mental health over external, less important matters.

“It’s okay to take breaks, it’s okay, if you need it for your mental health, to email your teachers and be like ‘hey, I’m having a hard time. Could I have an extension?’” Dawson explained.

The lack of support given to low-income Americans during the pandemic led DeChaine to feel that the American government handled the pandemic poorly.

Dawson posing for a photo before the pandemic began. (photo courtesy of Loralei Dawson)

“I believe that we need more [systems in place] to help people who have less money, who are only able to work minimum wage, we need more systems to help [people]. I feel like a lot of our money isn’t being used wisely, and the fact that America was so affected by the pandemic shows that,” DeChaine claimed.

As Generation Z continues to live through major moments in history, their minds are molded to learn all that they can from the losses they’ve experienced. Changed views on self-love, time management, and politics seem to be merely the surface-level topics that Gen Z deals with daily.