Stuck at home, sophomore becomes more introverted in the past couple of years

September 20, 2021 — by Annie Liu
Photo by Annie Liu

Just months into quarantine, I longed for real human interaction. I missed sitting with my friends during lunch, talking about the workload, tests and quizzes. I missed sharing and being scared to share my stories on assigned prompts for English class. I missed the interesting small talks I could have with students. Now, the tables have turned; I’ve had a rough adjustment back to in-person learning. 

In a way, I’m an introverted extrovert: I’m an extrovert around introverts and an introvert around extroverts. 

When school went online in March of 2020, I was surprisingly disappointed. I felt trapped in my house, anxious to go out and see my friends and relatives. I missed being around others, and I found myself going grocery shopping just to see people walking around. 

Plus, sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time quickly grew tiring. I missed my friends. I missed group projects.I missed almost everything about in-person school. 

But when change comes, adaptation follows. I learned to adapt to this new way of life and found joy in being alone. During quarantine, I spent more time drawing or listening to music, activities that left me refreshed and energized. 

As I got used to staying at home and not speaking to anyone, I felt safe, in a way, at home. My desire to go outside lessened and I didn’t have the desire to talk to anyone anymore. I became scared to unmute on Zoom, and I even forgot how to care about my reputation and relationships. Nothing felt humane anymore.

Inevitably, the first day of in-person school in August rolled around and my anxiousness rose with it. 

“Oh no, I’m going to have to deal with people again,” I thought to myself. “This is it, game over, the good life is over.”

What was I supposed to do again? Where’s the unmute button? Where’s the “turn off camera” button? Wait, say that again please?

I found it hard to approach people and speak. It had been a long time since I’ve seen crowds of people, and even longer since I’ve been at school. I struggled to look people in the eyes and think of something to say. 

The school day felt so much longer.

Being back hasn’t been all bad, of course. My classmates talk to each other and laugh at jokes, and I know I can easily share questions and concerns with others. It’s a feeling that I had long forgotten in the days of online school. 

Still, the fear and habits I acquired from quarantine are still present, yet I am getting used to being in a responsive, live environment. I am sure I will grow to like it again, but it will take time.