Courtesy of Shayda Roshdieh
Amidst all the distress and fear aroused due to the spread of COVID-19, many students have begun to adopt new hobbies and activities to cope with their emotional turmoil. One common hobby seen among several students and staff is their increased drive to write. Although students have been writing in class meticulously for years, quarantine has provided many with the time to find pleasure in doing these activities for themselves.
From poetry to novels, to journaling, to even writing for the school newspaper; students are becoming increasingly more involved in transferring their personal voice onto paper. Without the restrictions of writing in MLA format or for a grade, many have found the freedom to write what matters most to them without criticism or judgment.
Journaling, in particular, is a method for students to cope with the emotional distress caused by the pandemic and the isolation felt by quarantining from others. It is easier for many to write down what they are feeling rather than saying it aloud. Although it is very important for students to talk to trusted individuals, it is also necessary to learn to understand what one is feeling on their own. This emotional escape can help relieve stress and pain by allowing students to feel heard in a safe environment.
Many students have been developing their writing craft by focusing on poetry and the more emotional side of writing. The emotion expressed through their poetry is extremely powerful in aiding them to understand how they are feeling. Shayda Roshdieh (12) feels that “writing poetry has always felt like a glimpse into [her] mind.” When she feels distracted and her mind feels clouded, poetry allows her to reveal to herself what she can’t see. At times when she can’t communicate normally, writing her feelings “as a poem has always been the best way for [her] to understand [her] own feelings.”
Some students have been dreaming for years of finding a place to showcase their writing in order to better understand its role in their lives. I myself joined The Wrangler this year in order to determine what I want to say and how I want to live. I have always dreamed of becoming a writer one day, but I have never found myself fit to become one. To me, writing has always been an emotional expression of art that illustrates all that is beautiful about life. Even amongst all the pain and suffering in the world, writing helps us to find the shadowed beauty in it all.
Many students are able to find beauty in the imaginary worlds they’ve created. A modern utopia where humans never die, a forest full of harmony between magical creatures, or an enchanted kingdom ruled by a kind and fair queen; anything can be how they wish. With the emotional trauma impacting students, it can become easier to escape, at least for a little while, to a place of their own imagination.
Celeste Esqueda (12) is fascinated by “crafting a world from scratch” and creating beautiful stories for the people and creatures who exist in it. Celeste writes to answer her “own questions about what a world may look like if things were drastically different.” Her writing reflects not only how she feels internally but how she views the world around her. With the world seeming to constantly become a darker place, her imagination and writing may be the hope others need to make a meaningful difference.
Writing is an art that students have been developing since they were young, and it only takes them to pursue it in order to discover all that it has to offer. If you want to grow as a writer, start a journal. Chronicle events, people, and things you saw that stood out to you. Develop these by describing the emotions and feelings you experienced. Ask your teachers for advice on how to become more involved in your own writing. Look for opportunities to showcase your writing. There’s the school newspaper, writing contests, and outlets online to share your writing. If you want to write, then do it.
With all the chaos and stress piling up with the beginning of hybrid classes and the continuing pandemic, students have felt a disconnect from themselves. Writing has provided many with a positive outlet to express their feelings and opinions in a safe environment. For those who haven’t looked into writing as a way to understand how they’re feeling, there are many avenues to begin the process of growing into a powerful writer. To not write is to deprive themselves of understanding their truest selves.