Germany: students carry on despite pandemic

Celina, highschool student from Germany

Due to the rapid spreading of the virus all schools in Germany are now closed. That has a huge impact on me because I am going to graduate this year. Teachers were supposed to give us exercises and text us via an online platform that completely collapsed for the first weeks and led to pure frustration because deadlines still had to be held in even though I could not stay on the website for more than ten seconds when I got the chance to log in (Germany is in a digital stone age concerning school websites).

No one knew how quick the virus would spread and surprised us completely. I sat in my Biology class when they announced that all schools would close from the next week on. So, all the planning and excitement for our last week of school just vanished. While all the lower years cheered mine was just frustrated and sad. We tried to make the best out of it and had one last lunch break all together and just tried to have a good last day, but no later than the evening everyone started to realize we would not see each other for at least a few months, which was shocking. Of course there are people in worse conditions, who are fighting for their existence or their life, but being dragged out of your normal life just with a conference held by your city senate was an experience that triggered a series of feelings and emotions no one of me and my friends have ever experienced before.

While a lot of people got infected in Germany, the deaths are not as high as some expected and in my city less than ten people have died so far which lets us all stay calm and just curious about when everything is going to be normal again.

I have not slept well since I have been sent home from school and my sleeping schedule is really messed up. I have tried to stay calm and focus on the good things and that no one in my family or friends got infected so far. Also, I have more time to study for my upcoming exams and cook more than before. It might have been hard at the beginning, but I am not sad about all the things I could not do in the last weeks anymore and try to make others laugh so everyone has an easier time to get through this.

Philipp, law student from Germany

During the COVID-19 outbreak, I was doing an internship abroad. As the situation worsened, I went back to Germany. I’m isolating at my parent’s cosy little holiday home out in the woods. The weather is surprisingly nice, so my days literally look bright. When I’m not teleworking in the sunlit winter garden, I play drums or read in the sun.

In Saxony, Germany, we’re on full lockdown and only allowed to go outside for doing groceries, doing sports, health reasons, and some other exceptions. 

Initially, before being on lockdown, I imagined social isolation to be extremely hard for me and even detrimental to my mental health as I am usually a highly sociable person. Yet, ever since I am on actual lockdown, surprisingly none of the emotional challenges that I expected actually arose. On the contrary, I love the lockdown situation! For once, there’s no FOMO whatsoever. For once, I have ample time for playing drums, reading, self-reflection and don’t have to cram all of that in an already packed day. For once, my evenings are free, so I can ring friends I haven’t seen in a while.

Also, out of necessity comes creativity – not being able to go bouldering during lockdown, I invented “log bouldering”, so now I’m setting routes up piles of freshly felled tree trunks in the forest.

This article is part of the Newscoop series #QuarantineStories which asks people from all over the world about how they are coping with COVID-19 and quarantine.

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