Exodus and the Locusts

By Mia Saraceni  

Teen years are the time when one begins to figure out their identity, interests and plans for the rest of their life. It’s a formative time, but it can be difficult to learn and grow while in the midst of a great national tragedy.  

The Covid-19 pandemic was the tragedy that took the world by storm, and it caused intense confusion, especially for young people. Most people are still in the process of wading through the aftermath, but a new threat is slowly butting its head in.  

Mental health issues across the nation became greater than ever before, but with a lack of societal care came a heightened stigma, leading to a lot of teenagers left struggling.  

Senior Lauren Mahkovic was one such student who struggled during the pandemic, providing many sentiments regarding her personal experiences.  

“When the school year finished up and Covid got worse and worse, I got really depressed,” Mahkovic said. 

Other students, such as fellow senior Grace Kaminsky struggled as well, both with her mental well-being and school life.  

“Life during Covid was tough,” Kaminsky said. “It was hard to adjust to everything around me, especially turning my living space into an educational setting without getting the two mixed up.” 

Most students were left wrestling between their diminishing mental health and school life practically going down the drain, but that struggle reached more people than just teenagers.  

English teacher Mrs. Mary Logan experienced many difficulties she was forced to wade through during the pandemic, some that permanently changed her to this day.  

“Covid and world events have shaken me so hard that I withdrew from all news, current events and almost all social media because it was stressing me out to a breaking point,” Mrs. Logan said.  

Horrible statistics and news of constant death were practically shoved down the throats of every person in America, leaving almost everyone with a bad taste in their mouth.  

The pandemic was just the start of hardships though, as life from there on out changed and in some people’s opinions, for the worst.  

The newest issue plaguing the world is not in regards to illness, but rather a horrible threat of war.  

The Russo-Ukrainian War officially started in early 2014, but the conflict has escalated to such a point where citizens of the United States fear their livelihoods might be caught in the crosshairs of a nuclear bomb.  

Some people believe the threat to be nothing but hearsay spread around by the likes of the media and those who submit to its teachings, but others find genuine concern with the event.  

One can argue, though, that the teenage generation has been pushed too close to the ledge, so much so that they simply don’t care.  

Political cartoon by Mia Saraceni.

“Our generation is so desensitized to war, violence and the threat of immediate death that it’s just kind of another day, to be honest,” Mahkovic said. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked such havoc on some of Generation-Z that nuclear strikes and the potential of total annihilation is just another thing to shrug at, which is a poignant piece of reality.  

An apathetic point of view doesn’t always have to come from a place of deep fear, it could just come from utter disbelief.  

“They’re bluffing,” senior Alex Toth said. “They’re not going to drop bombs. There was a recent meeting between the Russian military leaders about possible tactical nuclear weapons being used in just small scenarios, nothing to wipe out a city.”  

Toth is a member of the United States Army Reserve, a branch of the Army, who participates in monthly battle drills and classes in preparation for possible federal activation.  

Passivity is emotion that’s few and far between when it comes to outlooks on the event, and most lie in-between the barriers of fear and positivity. 

“Ever since 2020, I feel like there has just been a long succession of disruptions, so it’s a moot point to talk about ‘further possible disruptions,’” Logan said.  

The idea of a “new normal,” especially after everything that has happened and is on the brink of happening, is practically unrealistic because of the ever-changing events.  

Americans have constantly concerned themselves with whether or not to care about massive and potentially life changing events, whether that be sickness, natural disaster or war, and those clashing opinions make for a hostile environment.  

Not only have teenagers had to worry about plague and war, but they’ve also been incredibly affected by the ever-evolving, volatile political feud going on in the United States.   

Extremists on both sides of the political spectrum create such a combative environment that it’s impossible to disagree on respectful grounds. 

“Everyone is becoming so polarized,” Mahkovic said. “Everyone has become so extreme. There’s no room for compromise, like you should be more willing to put others before yourself or listen to others before stating your own opinion.” 

Kaminsky shares the same idea that “everything has become so extreme.”  

Politics and political feuds aren’t a random and disjointed piece to the horrible puzzle, they’re necessary for understanding why mindsets in the U.S, especially those relating to sickness and war, are the way they are.  

When one is in the middle of a tug-of-war game, it’s only a matter of time before they reach a certain side.  

“Keeping our heads above the water and maintaining hope for the future is the only plan,” Logan said. “No matter what happens now.” 

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