Half a life

Everybody is suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic: death of a loved one, the fear of illness and the relentless loneliness that grips so many. Of those who enjoy good health, I believe that the group who will bear the heaviest long-term cost are high school students. Think back to your own youth. You might be loved and well taken care of at home, but where you really wanted to be was with your friends at school, playing team sports, participating in clubs and choir, or just hanging out. What might seem simply like fun activities are actually lessons in leadership, gaining social skills and figuring out who you can trust.
Today‘s young people are missing so much. They lack ready access to part-time or summer jobs where getting paid for work accomplished teaches independence, entrepreneurialism and exactly who you want to be when you grow up. As a teenager I worked retail where I helped quietly increase all sticker prices by 15 percent and then watched two weeks later as the store announced a 20-percent-off sale. One year I was night clerk at a motel where I learned what the members of the local baseball team did after games and who they did it with. Another summer, my role on the production line at a dairy spurred me to go to university. I concluded that I did not want to spend my life doing such repetitive tasks.
Beyond such work and what it brings, imagine how students are suffering on a daily basis as they sit all alone during online learning. A majority of them say Zoom school it is not anywhere near as enriching as in-class teaching. They worry that grades given will be lower than they otherwise would have been under the usual methodology. As a result, those in their final years in high school fear that they may not have good enough marks to get into the university of their choice. Their self-confidence will forever be eroded.
It has been said that youth is wasted on the young. Never has it been more true.

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