Head-to-Head: Quarantine Perspectives
May 13, 2020
During the stay-at-home order put in place by the Chicago governor, members of The Weekly decided to write a head-to-head about how their experience at home has been from both an extrovert’s perspective and that of an introvert.
Ain’t No Cure for the Extrovert Blues
Beading, Netflix-binging, paint by numbers, at-home workouts. I’ve tried everything to stay occupied during this quarantine. If you had asked me what I do in my free time before March 14, I would’ve given you a half-true answer I had in fourth grade: I read, I write, and I spend time with my family. These days—when free time is endless—I oversleep, I watch TV, and I spend an unhealthy number of hours on the internet. The truth is, at-home activities just don’t do it for me: I achieve happiness by being around others.
The large misconception about extroverts is that they’re outgoing people with bubbly personalities. Actually, being an extrovert means you gain energy from socializing with others, whereas introverts usually recharge by spending time alone.
Thus, my quarantine predicament.
Normally, my weekend plans would involve exploring the city with friends or family, which could entail dinner at a new restaurant or seeing an exhibit at the Art Institute. Now, out of concern for my own health and the health of others, I’m forced to stay inside, save for the occasional masked walk in my neighborhood.
Sadly for me, I’ve interacted face-to-face with very few people outside of my nuclear family during the two months I’ve spent in quarantine. Like many others, my days blend together: Sundays, usually reserved for brunch and homework, no longer feel like distinct days of the week. Every day feels like a Sunday, and it doesn’t help that Chicago winters last until May.
Outside of my online classes, I interact with a handful of people through FaceTime calls and Zoom meets, but I end up feeling like a character in a strange “Black Mirror” episode. I’m beginning to crave human interaction—not the kind that’s through a screen—and the independence I always took for granted.
My online classes are glitch-filled, and, if I’m lucky, I can last an entire class period without losing internet connection. Discussions that were once enthralling feel lackluster. Presentations border on awkward. Zoom is amazing in the way it can connect people, but it is no replacement for the physical aspect of education.
At a time in my life, and the lives of other Gen Zers, that is supposed to be about expansion and exploration, I am more insular than ever. I’ve committed to college, but it’s hard to feel relieved when I have few people with whom I can celebrate. It’s unclear whether I’ll even be able to set foot on campus come August.
What scares me most, however, is how the idea of socialization will change after this pandemic subsides. Restaurants and museums will open with time, but will the act of visiting them change? Will the fear of germs and contracting another virus force us into a mask and glove-filled frenzy?
While I’m extremely thankful for the roof over my head, my good health, and my family’s financial security during this time, I’m scared. For extroverts (and maybe even some introverts) who are also feeling a bit lost, all I have to say is that our idea of normalcy is going to change post-COVID. Even if crowd-filled activities become commonplace once again, it will take longer than we’d like.
If there is one silver lining during this pandemic for us extroverts, it’s that it has put things into perspective. Like, standing-at-the-bottom-of-the-Willis-Tower-and-looking-up perspective.
Little things I always took for granted have become highlights of my days stuck in quarantine. I’ve learned to enjoy late-night FaceTime calls dedicated to completing chemistry homework and running into old friends during my tri-weekly walk around the neighborhood.
Although we may feel inexplicably anti-social during this time, perhaps, when COVID-19 becomes more manageable, we’ll emerge from our homes when friendlier and more gregarious than ever before. You can count on the fact that I won’t ever again complain about being the shortest person in a crowd—I’ll just be happy to be in one.
Celia Rattner is a senior entering her third year on the staff of “The Parker Weekly” and is excited to assume her role as Features Editor. In years...
Social distancing has almost made me more social. Usually, I find that hanging out with people is time-consuming and energy-consuming, but doing it from the comfort of my own home means I can hang up and take a break whenever I want.
Since being in quarantine, I’ve fallen into a routine for each day that feels like a never-ending loop. Wake up, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, go to my classes, eat lunch, and do some work. It’s been like that every day, going through that schedule on repeat, alone but not really lonely. I’ve always liked having alone time and remote learning has given me a much-needed break.
I enjoy the calmness of all of this. I don’t have any siblings or pets, but I don’t mind. I’ve felt more energized during this time because I get to be alone and relax. At school, I spend a lot of time on my phone or doing homework to avoid talking to the seniors in my class or the teachers in the lunch line, but now I’m reaching for my phone to talk to others.
I text most of my friends every day, and I usually like to FaceTime someone every few days, but it doesn’t feel as draining as being at school. I enjoy having small conversations, so I’ve been having more one-on-one FaceTimes. I’ve had more time to talk to people I don’t usually talk to as well, like my friends that left Parker and my friends at Latin. It has been a good time to catch up with people I haven’t seen in a few years. We’re able to talk about our experiences in quarantine—an experience we’ve all had even though we’re far apart.
I think that in the same way that it’s important to know how to talk to others and be outspoken, it’s also important to know how to spend time with yourself. Whether you’re watching TV alone, drawing alone, or scrolling through Instagram alone, it’s important to be grateful for the solitude. I’ve enjoyed having time to knit, and I’ve also embroidered some shorts.
I’ve heard a lot of people say they’re bored. I don’t feel like I’ve reached that point yet. There are things to keep me busy like homework, watching TV, and writing “Weekly” articles. I’d tell anyone who feels bored to find the joy in doing possibly boring things like watching TV or reading a book or trying a new thing. I’ve tried doing some new things like learning how to juggle, which didn’t go as planned but it was fun to have the time to do it. I’m grateful for this extra time to do things like cooking my meals and sewing and not rushing to do homework, which I can’t do during the “normal” school year. Usually, I only get the chance to really relax over breaks, and even then, it doesn’t feel like enough time.
It’s nice to be an introvert right now because I like spending time alone already. Social distancing has given me time to be reflective and calm instead of stressed. Remote learning has given me a good amount of time to get my work done. I’m able to digest my food after lunch, instead of having to go straight to another class.
While there are some things I feel that I’ve missed out on like softball and running a Cookie, with Zoom, Google Meet, and FaceTime, I’ve been able to see all the people that I normally would. When I want to do something more exciting than eating or watching TV, I’m able to talk to any of my friends at a click of a button. There’s an abundance of ways to talk to other people, and for people like me, an abundance of ways to get out of talking to other people.
Emma Manley is a sophomore in her second year on the staff of “The Weekly.” Currently, she is writing as a Brief Writer. She previously served as a...