The Epidemic of Apathy


“White 13′ Apple Macbook 2.4 GHz, 10/31/08 – 1 of 63” by goodrob13 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Daisy Koffler

It’s funny how fast your mentality can change. In September, I wanted to fill my time with meaningful commitments and extracurriculars; it was a goal of mine for this school year. By the month of January, I had an after school everyday. Monday through Friday, I chose to forgo the ability to go straight home or see friends after school. That would be hell for some, but it was a haven for me to live my best life and consistently feel like my mental health and happiness were not an issue. Living this way made me naturally content. Arduous tasks like morning runs before classes, rush hour train commutes, and preparation for Regent and AP exams fueled my rigid time management and studying regime. Additionally the eight year wait for my LT (leader training) summer at camp was about to be over, and would be the collected reward for my diligent school year. Even when I was most busy, I was open to new opportunities if they presented; I wanted to get the most out of my year before eleventh grade arrived.

Then came mid-March and my plans, hopes, and dreams were annihilated by the lockdown of the country. Schools converted to remote learning for the rest of the academic year. Businesses closed, and friends couldn’t hang out much anymore. Initially I was apprehensive about the quality of my education due to remote learning, but I was still regularly exercising and appreciative of the relaxation and some free time. As the City’s public health status grew more severe, there was more bad news on TV. My optimism started fizzling out. My running abilities regressed. I gained weight and abandoned my clean diet. I was often fighting with my family. Tears followed when I faced even slightless of inconveniences. 

Once my camp cancelled for the summer, my emotions became even more unpredictable and I felt all of my hope hit rock bottom. 

The state of the world, the country, and my own life was more grim than ever. But what perplexed me was that I had all the time in the world to enjoy all my favorite hobbies, so why was I struggling to be the positive and happy self I have been all of my life? 

I pondered the question but none of my theories seemed very rational. 

“The uncertainty of next year is tough,” or, “you miss your friends and you are disappointed that fun events got cancelled,” my parents opined. 

Yet I couldn’t escape the feeling that the source of my sadness was from something else. 

I reflected, trying to comprehend my own mind. I realized that the absence of a schedule was degrading, and mocking me. I thrive off structure and stimuli, like exams to prepare for and fun summer plans to restlessly await. Empty hours and minimal commitments to Zoom calls hindered me as well. Unreserved time resulted with the overuse of my phone and the sporadic Zoom calls would remind me that I didn’t have normal interactions with fellow students and teachers the way I used to. 

If I was going to change how I felt day to day, I needed to hold myself to a strict routine. This entails regularity in completing everyday chores, waking up before ten o’clock, regular exercise, less time on social media, and altering my sleep schedule. I was overwhelmed and simultaneously relieved when envisioning myself on the journey to making these changes. When I only imagined the results of organizing my time, it became counterproductive and nothing got done. Though it was frightening, taking this initiative was the only way to overcome my feelings while quarantines were still in effect. 

Originally I wanted to offer readers “fun and easy ways” to stay positive in quarantine however I realized I didn’t have any tips to offer, and I think that talking about something more raw could actually be beneficial to someone else. 

Realizing that I didn’t have any advice to tell people reminded me why no one should listen to a single story; if one person is thriving during quarantine it doesn’t mean you need to be too. If someone looks like they are happy and well on social media, that isn’t always the case. The way I am getting through quarantine is to reflect on my own situation without judging it side by side next to others.’ My only tip is to encourage you to do the same.