I’ve always been into “viral” content, but COVID-19 is different. Professionally to socially, it has left its mark. The shift in society has been hard on everyone but, speaking as a teenager, the reorientation is prominent.

Our school year adapted into something we didn’t expect. Starting days at 6 a.m. turned into 12 p.m. Sitting at desks turned into sitting in bed. Everything changed. For the better? You can decide.

My second semester of freshman year was far from normal. After the year ended, all I could think was, “Now what?”

Every year, my family travels to India, as that’s where my parents are from. It’s been an annual routine since before I can remember. The coronavirus caused a travel ban, making it impossible to travel. Literally impossible.

Being unable to travel is something that took away a lot from my summer and I’m sure many others feel the same. So, if not traveling, what else? What can I do with myself these next three months?

I’ll be honest, my vacation hasn’t been as productive as I would’ve wanted it to be. I’m not exactly experiencing a typical high school summer. Some of my days are being spent with friends, to an extent.

The virus continues to be extremely evident, which makes socializing tremendously difficult and concerning. While I do get to meet people, there’s always that thought, “What if I get the coronavirus?” But what kind of life is that? Unfortunately, our reality.

I find myself to be so lucky to live in this era of technology. I’m always connected to everyone virtually. FaceTime denies touch but enables connection — the most we can get of it through these unprecedented times.

Obviously, I can’t be on FaceTime all day so what else? I’ve found myself at lakes quite a bit. Swimming and getting tan are staples of an ideal summer vacation, so at least I can say I have that.

Predictably, one may suggest taking up a new hobby or honing new skills. This global disruption has compelled us all to get creative with our time and make of it what we will. For me, it’s been learning a new language. For you, it might look like a cake in your oven or herbs in your garden; time has stopped so we can catch up. I’ve been learning French et c’est très amusant (and it’s very fun).

Maybe my summer does consist of productivity, but there are several moments that take away from that. This may feed the teenage stereotype, but I’m going to keep it honest. I have been utilizing electronics more than I ever have. From scrolling on apps like TikTok to binge-watching “Gossip Girl” on Netflix, much of my life has revolved around a screen lately.

I’ve endured more idle moments than ever before. The only thing filling the void are my thoughts. I’ve thought and practically analyzed every little event that has happened to me. It wasn’t until now I realized how consuming the business of nothingness can be.

My summer of 2020 will be looked back at in a strange way but, what can be taken away from this entire experience?

Past summer vacations were predictable. I knew the drill. Go to India, visit with family, come back, spend time with friends, and then go back to school. COVID-19’s effects have made me question everything. It has made me question my freshman year, my summer, and continues to leave me puzzled.

I’d never gotten around to knowing time as I know it now, thanks to this ‘Summer in the time of corona.’

I wouldn’t have ever even thought about trying to learn a new language by myself if it wasn’t for all the spare time on my hands. It’s as if my boredom fuels my determination to achieve fluency.

No, this summer hasn’t been normal nor ideal however, we’re here. Our future is more unpredictable than ever but we’ve already gotten through so much. Stay in right now to stand out later.

Reeti Thakkar, 15, will be a sophomore at Chanhassen High School this year. She enjoys traveling, hanging out with friends/family, listening to music and painting. She speaks Hindi, other regional languages from the Indian subcontinent, Spanish, and is learning French. Thakkar has been passionate about writing her entire life. As a teenager, she feels young voices are an integral part of our society.

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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