22 May 2020

Reflections II: Lockdown 'slowly ate away at my soul'

6:37 pm on 22 May 2020

After seven weeks away, students flooded back through their school gates on Monday morning - eager for a return to normality.

Mikayla Ng wun

Mikayla Ng wun Photo: RNZ / Katie Doyle

But what was life like under lockdown for young New Zealanders? And has it changed them?

Checkpoint spoke with five students from Papatoetoe High School in Auckland to find out.

Victoria Stepenson

Victoria Stepenson Photo: RNZ / Katie Doyle

Victoria Stephenson, year 13

"I know that my sister called me, and she was freaking out because the school was about to shut down and she didn't have anywhere to go and so we were frantically calling Mum, and it was just like a big burst of 'what are we gunna do now?' and 'what is next?' It was just us freaking out.

"I found it really hard at the start, to not be around my friends because I talk to them for a lot of things and they give me a lot of support. We video called a lot and we would fall asleep on video calls too."

Rhonda Nguyen

Rhonda Nguyen Photo: RNZ / Katie Doyle

Rhonda Nguyen, year 12

"It was nice to have my parents at home because they're never at home, and I could let them relax and do things that I don't usually get to do with them.

"Being able to connect with my culture as well because I was able to, I mean cooking dishes is not anything special, but I was able to learn things like that because usually my parents are out and I can't really learn from them."

Idrees Hamid

Idrees Hamid Photo: RNZ / Katie Doyle

Idrees Hamid, year 13

"Personally, yeah I enjoyed lockdown, even though I knew it was a really depressing or degrading thing to think about. It was still good personally for me because I got a lot of free time from that and I got a lot of things done, especially with my family. Usually I don't see my family very often, we're such a busy family we don't see each other, and to have that bonding time we had... it was pretty good."

Mikayla Ng wun

Mikayla Ng wun Photo: RNZ / Katie Doyle

Mikayla Ng wun, year 13

"The first thing I thought was 'oh what takeaways can I buy before they lock everything down'.... but I think most of all it was, I was just thinking 'how long is this going to last?' coz it kind of made me nervous even though I knew that we had, like, plans implemented, like with online school.

"It kinda took a toll, like thinking 'oh how long is it gunna be until I see my family again?' because I'm a really social person, I really like having physical interaction with other people, and that's when I really am my best self. So I think it kind of slowly ate away at my soul."

Nathaniel Mulia'ina Papāli'i

Nathaniel Mulia'ina Papāli'i Photo: RNZ / Katie Doyle

Nathaniel Mulia'ina Papāli'i, year 13

"I got to love myself even more... looking at the mirror I'd be like 'oh you look sexy!' I'd just admire myself, like 'oh I love my skin.' I just realised I have a dimple on my face! Like how did I not know that? Yeah, but just looking at the mirror, like my reflection and stuff, I actually do look good. I don't care what anyone else says. To me, I look good."

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