How A Virus Affected Our Social Relations

The first time I heard about Covid I couldn’t help but think that it was just a huge exaggeration shaped by media to create fear and disseminate panic among people.
The perspective of a pandemic appeared inconceivable to me, but when the Government began to take serious measures in order to contrast the spread of the virus, I started to realize what was really happening to the entire world.
In a few weeks, I saw my daily life-changing: commercial activities, except supermarkets and pharmacies, had been closed, I hadn’t the possibility of going to school and hanging out with my friends on Saturday nights… It was a shock for everyone, especially for us young people.

Two years after spending whole months of my life enclosed within four walls, I’m personally still affected by the effects of all the quarantines and the rules to prevent contagion: for instance, most of the times that I receive an invitation to participate in a party or just to go out with a friend, I start to feel subtle anxiety that tries to convince me not to accept the proposal. And if at the end I decide to go out anyways, after coming home, on the one hand, I feel kind of guilty, on the other, I think that I might be excessively paranoid.
Sometimes I feel like I’m in the mood for meeting new people, visiting places I’ve never been to, making plans without that annoying voice in my head that whispers “Have you forgotten you’re in the middle of a pandemic?”.
I am sincerely tired of this situation, of feeling like I am literally losing time, of wasting the ones that are supposed to be the best years of my life.
In spite of everything, I also have to recognize that this unpleasant situation taught everyone an important lesson: never underestimate the value of the so-called “normality” because everything can change from one day to another.
I feel extremely glad for being aware of it now, can’t wait to initiate enjoying my life again.
I hope that everything will end as soon as possible.

Furthermore, I thought it might have been interesting reporting the experiences of some international friends I met during my travels in order to discover how people of a nationality other than mine are living this extraordinary situation and make a cultural comparison among them.

Kolitha (18) and Shurika (21) are two guys who come from Japan and for both of them, the pandemic represented an opportunity.
Given that Kolitha’s school allowed him to decide between attending lessons in attendance or online because of the Covid situation, he had the possibility of living in England for a semester in order to learn the language while, at the same time, he was following his Japanese classes.
If the virus hadn’t existed, Kolitha wouldn’t have been able to come to Europe.
Shurika, instead, exploited this period of isolation to understand what she really wanted to do with her life after graduating from university.
However, they lived social interactions in a different way: “Coming to England offered me the chance to make a lot of new friends rather than meeting the usual people at my school in Japan.
In this sense, my relationships have been affected positively” says Kolitha, while Shurika talks about another type of experience: “My university club was forced to stop its activities and as a result, I couldn’t meet my friends, but at least I spent more time together with my family”.

Irene (21), a Spanish girl, acknowledged the huge help provided by technology during the lockdown, but also started giving more value to physical encounters, hugs, and simple moments such as having a walk in nature and taking a deep breath.
“This pandemic taught me to appreciate small daily details, it’s worth living for them”, she tells me, “You have to improvise more, not make long-term plans, living the instant with more intensity”.
At once Irene affirms that normality hasn’t come back yet, that’s why it’s important to get used to living with the virus by continuing to pay attention and respecting the rules.

To conclude, I’d highly recommend everyone who’s reading to hold on and try to be more optimistic and hopeful towards the future: sooner or later this nightmare will finish and this
half-lived time of our existences is going to turn just into a sad and distant memory.

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Elena Quattrocchi


5E – I.I.S. Medi, liceo linguistico


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