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The Stories

S.S., a teen in Murrieta, CA

“This situation affects my mental health in extreme ways. My brain is longing for the social connections that school and the freedoms that turning 16 brings me. I cannot exercise the things that I have waited for so long in terms of life and friends because of the people in power and the people that cannot follow simple directions.”

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J.L., 19, a student in San Francisco, CA

“I think throughout the pandemic, I found my real strength in being proud and happy about my race during a tumultuous time in history when nobody else is and Asian American representation is at a negative.”

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S.P., 20, a student in Manassas, VA

“[Quarantine] wasn’t too bad, as my parents and I are used to spending a lot of time together and we have the same hobbies. It felt like my childhood again, simply spending all day with my parents. However, these happy times were abruptly cut short when George Floyd was brutally murdered by police. This sparked many discussions about racial justice between my parents and I…”

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A.Z., 22, a student in Kahului, Hawaii

“As an American university student, 2020 has been a year of unprecedented weirdness. It’s brought upon a good deal of comfort and stark realizations for me. To sum it all up, life in quarantine hasn’t been bad at all. It’s certainly been a transformative time and, as a young adult, it’s come to represent the transition to adulthood for me.”

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K.T., 18, in Newcastle, U.K.

“As someone who has been home bound/self quarantined for a few years to due to chronic illnesses and disabilities, the pandemic hasn’t changed my life that drastically. In terms of daily life and mental health I’ve been struggling a bit however, there is no routine set in place for me, all the days seem to fade into each other, and I’ve been too scared to go outside because of my physical health.”

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C.M., a teen in Murrieta, CA

“I was incredibly bored throughout the entire experience and it was hard finding things to do in my own home but I’ve managed find many things like drawing, watching movies, learning a new language, etc. I try to talk to my friends through different methods everyday and the rare occasion we see each other face-to-face we still adhere to rules as best we can.”

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C.A., a teen in Fullerton, CA

“I woke up late for school as usual and saw my phone filled with notifications about some virus. The breaking news said that there are thousands of people who are dead because of this virus. I read the news, it said that the virus is called COVID-19 or Coronavirus.”

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E.M., a teen in Murrieta, CA

“I think that the hardest thing about quarantine and COVID-19 has been going to school online…This semester, I feel like some of my teachers seem to be expecting more than if we were actually in person. I am finding it more difficult to balance my life between social, personal, and school.”

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J.R., 49, a Pharmacist Technician in Murrieta, CA

“Going to work was very scary because I have some health issues as it is and I have to interact with people, so I constantly used sanitizer, gloves, multiple masks, etc…Working in a medical field in this time has been exhausting and will be even harder as flu season approaches…I hope one day I will be able to give the COVID-19 vaccine as part of my job and help to others.”

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J.R., 78, in San Francisco, CA

“She moved back to San Francisco because she missed the fog and the cable cars and the other poets. In the 1970s she found it easier (and less expensive) to write rather than paint.”

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Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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