Quarantine Chic: Time in isolation creates opportunities to explore new interests, styles

Graphic by: Henry Graham

Graphic by: Henry Graham

Henry Graham, Staff Writer

Quarantine. What started as an extended spring break turned into a crazy nine month period of boredom, sleeping, worrying, and most importantly, isolation. For some, it was an important time for introspection, and it helped them to change who they are. 

For those of you who have been sleeping under a rock, the Covid-19 virus emerged last year, and created a worldwide pandemic, with most of the world participating in some sort of quarantine. LPS students had an optional remote learning semester after spring break, with the promise of going back to school in person once summer was over. That quickly changed. With the rampant spread of covid-19 across the country we went into a lockdown, and turned our attention toward remote learning.

This sudden leap from: “I’m going to see my friends over summer break”, to: “don’t leave your house for 9 months”, left many LPS students stunned, and with nothing to do. So teens did what teens do when anything happens, they turned to social media. Teenagers across the country started pouring all of their boredom, creativity, anger, and excitement into apps like TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter. This sudden rise in people unabashedly sharing who they were for all to see, combined with the boredom and isolation from others due to the lockdown, inspired and allowed many other teens to experiment and change who they were as well.

LSE sophomore Tessa Donahoe said that her interests did change during quarantine and that they time alone allowed her to explore new passions. “I never really had a chance to branch out before. I always felt like I had to like certain things because I didn’t have time to focus and learn about myself.”

Being isolated for many months can have a large effect on a person, for two reasons. A person may be by themselves, allowing them to think solely on who they are and what they enjoy; and a person is away from others, allowing them to be free of any negative feedback or bullying that may arise from changing something about themselves. And it gives them confidence to actually enact this change. 

Donahoe also believed that time away from peers impacted who she was, saying, “ I would have never had the courage to dye my hair the way I did, or feel comfortable changing my style and music taste. I feel the break from my peers let me have that time to figure out who I was.”

The boredom that comes along with quarantine has allowed students to experiment with different hobbies and activities. Sirena Patrick, a freshman at LSE, picked up writing as a new hobby, saying, “I have adopted new hobbies, including writing. This was surprising to me because in the past I always saw writing as a hassle and something that was useless, but when I tried it out I realized I enjoyed being able to mess around with new vocabulary.” 

Of course, the change from middle school to high school is a life-changing experience in and of itself, and many students find themselves as completely different people once they start high school, regardless of the quarantine. “ I think being away from middle school peers helped me accomplish this change,” said Patrick. “In middle school it was very easy to be picked on since I was very open about my likings. Criticism wasn’t something new to me, but it still shaped me as the person I was before.”

Patrick also agreed with the idea of being away from peers having a part in her change. “During the uprise of being able to express yourself without having to worry about hate messages or comments really inspired me to get out of my shell and look out for my interests.”

Music is a big part of one’s identity, and spending quarantine inside allowed teens to branch out, and try to differentiate their musical palates. “My music (taste) definitely did change, I used to listen to ‘basic’ music, but I started to fall more into underground artists, like $not. I also listen to Lil Peep and indie music way more than I did before because I had the time to branch out,” Donahoe explained. 

Patrick’s taste in music changed as well. “Any hyper pop music used to be something I would listen to 24/7, 365, but now I listen to more songs with a soft kind of melody with deep lyrics you have to read in between the lines for.” 

For teens having a hard time discovering who they are or their interests, Donahoe and Patrick had some advice. 

Donahoe suggested it’s ok to take risks and make mistakes. “Take the time to focus on yourself. Get to know yourself and let yourself branch out. Change your hair. If you don’t like it, it will grow back or you can re-dye it back. Change your style, wear something you have always wanted to wear, and if you don’t like it, that’s okay!” said Donahoe. 

Patrick agreed, and had more to say about the questioning process. “It’s okay to take a long time. It’s not just a process that can take a day, it’s something you need to explore. Take your time and surround yourself with loving and supportive people. With time comes progress, whether it’s small or not, that progress is still progress, and it’s still going to help you out. There will always be ups and downs, but in the end you’ll look at yourself and be thankful for carrying on.”