The quick spreading virus has been extra hard on the youth world-wide, turning online school into the default. Fryshuset has, through a nationwide survey, looked at how the pandemic has impacted high school age teenagers as well as young adults throughout Sweden. With the results and answers we have gathered, we hope to shine light on how the pandemic has impacted young people’s faith in their futures as well as their learning and social life.
With the pandemic of Covid-19, many young people have seen the response to a health crisis of a magnitude we have not previously been able to imagine. Although most of the focus regarding the impact on the everyday joe by the disease has been about the working adult, we would like to shine a light on the struggles of teenagers and young adults, especially with a focus on their education. As someone who has been through this quarantine learning style at my university, I have some firsthand experience about the struggles of keeping focused and trying to uphold a social life in this learning environment. Other than my personal experiences Fryshuset has been working with uplifting young people’s voices in the pandemic through a nationwide survey as well as several filmed interviews with teenagers and young adults.
Something several of the youths mentioned was the impact the pandemic had on their opportunities for learning and retaining knowledge. “Our education has felt the impact of Corona, I think,” said one of the high schoolers interviewed. “Because we’ve had cancelled classes, sick teachers, a shorter Corona-specific schedule. In some cases, I think, we might need that education we’ve missed back.” Others mentioned the difficulties of studying from home, with the lack of direct help they were used to from their teachers as well as the cognitive dissonance they felt from doing focused work in their bedrooms.
Beyond education, the impact on the youth’s mental health was also an important aspect in both the interviews and the survey. Many of young people pointed to the lack of a social life during the pandemic, both due to guidelines set in place by the government and due to the lack of a physical educational environment. One interviewee mentioned his lack of hope for the future: “There’s been no feeling of hope… during this time. It’s been, it’s felt very dark, I think.”
From these interviews, as well as the survey, we can see that the pandemic’s impact on young people, especially high schoolers, has been great. With this information in mind, it’s important to take the time to listen to the youth and their ideas when it comes to the future of education as well as their mental health struggles that might have been caused by or exacerbated by the pandemic. We need to stand with our youth and show them that we care, because they are our future, and their health is our health too.