COVID, War and Tick Tok - What it's like to be a student in 2022

Photo and story courtesy of The Northern Daily Leader

AS we grow up, we take in the world around us and develop an understanding of 'normal', which shapes what we do and how we act, but over the past two years 'normal' has gone out the window.

At least, that is the sentiment of Tamworth students, who have revealed feelings of uncertainty and doubt as they approach the end of high school, and ready themselves for a brave new world.

Year 10 students from Calrossy Anglican School Careers Connection program spoke to the Leader about how COVID, climate change and the recent war in Europe has changed their outlook on life.

"It eliminates everything you've thought before and changes your whole perspective on things, it definitely changes your priorities," 15-year-old Yassie Jones said.

Career preferences are one thing that have undergone a major change, with the coronavirus pandemic leading kids to favour pragmatism over passion, and pursue jobs which are classed as essential.

"I think with COVID it has shown how people can lose their jobs, and the fact that there are jobs that are necessary and will always be used and people our age will tend to gravitate towards those," Yassie said.

"So they are always ensured a job and are always stable, I've sort of gone really into nursing because people are always going to be sick and it's a job that is always going to be needed."

Another change, which is more to do with the rapidly evolving world of technology more than anything else, is how students find information.

For a long time, Facebook was the undisputed king of social media for young people, but that has changed in recent years with Instagram claiming the title, before itself being usurped by TikTok - although that doesn't come without its problems.

"It's such short videos that everyone can just get what they need, even if it's just getting cooking recipes within 30 seconds or even 15 seconds," 15-year-old Cate Bishton said.

"We as young people don't want to be sitting down watching something for an hour - it's really quick information.

"But sometimes it's obviously fake and I think a lot of people probably wouldn't even realise that."

TikTok's ability to convey information quickly has made it popular among a generation not shy to admit they have short attention spans. But Cate said once something has her attention, she often wants to act on it.

This plays into another major point the students made, which is that they strongly believe they are more mature at their age than their parents were.

"We learn in schools about war and everything like that, and now with the Ukraine situation and COVID we've learnt how to deal with things," Yassie said. 

"And we feel that we need to take that role and grow up quicker to make sure it doesn't happen again."