Still kids, but not quite so much


Last updated 5/18/2022 at 12:20am

After a few decades of interviewing high school students two or three times a year, certain traits start to seem universal, including eager optimism mixed with a little nervousness about the unknown coming up.

Last week, I had the absolute pleasure, once again, to talk with a few local seniors, one on one, about their plans for the future and what high school has been like for them.

Whether they hoped to go to college, pursue a certain career, or begin a new adventure, these young adults — vibrant, bright, and hopeful as they are — carries at least a bit of an extra burden, a little extra knowledge about what can happen in the unknown.

Most of our conversation stuck to plans for the future, but I wanted to ask each of them what effects they thought the pandemic had had on them and on their classmates. Each of them said it was very hard and caused some serious problems.

They didn’t say much more about it, and there was a lot left unsaid.

Mental health experts from Okanogan to Okinawa know the problems are real and widespread. Be assured that if you or anyone you know is having trouble mentally or emotionally, you’re not alone. In fact, if any of us thinks we’re unaffected, we may just have an awakening coming someday.

Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

For our student population, I suspect the loss of certain rites of passage or a stunted high school experience may be less significant than even a subtle, long-term diminishment of simple human contact.

We’re social creatures, and that contact keeps us balanced on a fine edge. Loss of it creates challenges that may take some time to heal.

So, while we’re healing, let’s try to remember to help the process we’re all going through by mustering as much kindness and patience and happiness with each other as we can.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher


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