Teen girl doing homework on her laptop

Youth Perspectives: Navigating COVID-19 as a MilKid

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt routines and cancel plans, we asked several Army National Guard teens to share their unique perspective on how their lives have been impacted and give advice to their peers and other young people who are experiencing the same challenges.

Delaney Nobles, Senior Army National Guard Youth from North Carolina

I have contradicting feelings about the current situation caused by COVID-19. On one hand I was glad to get a break from school, and on the other I would do anything to go back. Going into this year as a senior I had high hopes that it would be everything I imagined it to be, senior exemptions from exams, special breakfasts and events, getting into the college I have been looking forward to, senior prom, and most importantly walking at graduation. While I have gotten some of those opportunities, the rest have been stripped from me and my fellow classmates.

It is hard to draw the line between problems in society and personal challenges, which is why I find it somewhat selfish of myself to seek pity for my missed opportunities. It has been especially hard on me to know that all the things I have worked towards for years won’t get to be properly celebrated by my classmates, friends, or family. I had many events to look forward to that will now most likely not happen, and now I must be hopeful and find new things to be excited for. I remain hopeful that no matter what happens with my last year of high school, I still have many things to look forward to in the future.

Before the second semester started, I got accepted into the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to study nursing. At the time I was looking for different scholarships, roommates, and campus activities. Being the daughter of a disabled military veteran opened so many doors for me in the college world. Because of my academic achievements as well as my extracurricular activities, I received a full ride scholarship to UNC Greensboro. I am looking forward to meeting new friends and being around some of my old high school friends. An important character trait I have learned being a military teen is how to be resilient and overcome obstacles such as this one. The events that are taking place right now may be changing the present, but I know that all I can do now is look forward to what is to come.

William Larson, Minnesota Army National Guard State Teen Panel Member

Without school, a busy schedule, and other distractions I feel a lot less stressed. I am getting through it by watching TV, playing video games, and going on long walks; this is what I do instead of constantly working on my schoolwork and going to practice. I am responding to the changes well so far and have responded with some mild self-improvement and self-reflection. The advice that I have for others is to keep oneself engaged in what they enjoy to keep themselves from being stressed by the world around them.

Elise Larson, Minnesota Army National Guard

Since I tore my ACL and am still recovering, extracurricular activities weren’t at the top of my list of things to do in the first place. What I am currently doing to stay at a reasonable level of fitness is going for walks around town. Unfortunately, my school play has been pushed back and is likely to be cancelled.

Instead of hanging out with my friends, I have been calling and texting them to stay in touch. Another thing that I do is I call my grandma in the nursing home most days. She recently had a stroke and being quarantined is really hard on her. Therefore, I make it part of my daily routine to try and get ahold of her. I still have schoolwork and my teachers have created a way for us to go to school while we are still quarantined in our homes. I am feeling just fine. I didn’t need a lot of social interaction in the first place, so being quarantined at home is not that hard for me.

My advice for my peers is to have a daily routine and find a way to separate school and home, whether it be by working in a specific space or doing schoolwork at a specific time in the day.  Walks are a good way to avoid going stir crazy.

Ann Nelson, Minnesota Army National Guard 

I have school Monday through Friday like normal, so I spend most of my day doing schoolwork. In the evenings I like running on my treadmill and doing some stretches and conditioning. Having a routine each day has helped the days go by faster and I feel more productive because I have things to accomplish each day. On the weekends I enjoy playing cards with my family or watching movies. Going on walks as a family helps us all to go outside when we can and get some exercise during the day.

While at home I have started to color in an adult coloring book which I find relaxing and satisfying. When it is nice outside my brother and I like biking or going on our trampoline. Finding ways to get outside, a daily walk with your dog or just getting the mail helps to remind us that there’s still a world out there and we don’t have to be trapped in our bedrooms.

As much as I miss seeing people, going to gymnastics and work, I know there will be a day when I can do those things again and I’m looking forward to that. My mom has set up weekly video calls with her sisters and my grandparents. I recommend having scheduled time to talk to your loved ones because it’s fun to catch up and see other faces than the ones in the house daily. I think the trick is to find a routine that gets you up in the morning to do your work, getting some daily exercise in and trying something new.

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