During the pandemic, we started a COVID learning pod. During this time there were many difficulties. I wasn’t able to see any kids my age for two years. This was easily the worst thing for me. I had just gotten to the point where I was getting over my social anxiety and had a small group of friends, right before they were taken away from me. I remember the last day of school before the COVID restrictions were put in place and schools were closed. One of my friends said, “See you on Monday” and I responded with “If we aren’t in lockdown at that point.” That was great foreshadowing.
The thing that made not seeing kids my age the worst was being stuck at home with the same people 24/7. I love my family, but not ever getting a break from them was the worst. There was always something that needed to be done that no one wanted to do, leading to a lot of frustration with no way to release it in a safe way. This just led to all of us getting even more frustrated and no one could take a break. And we were stuck together.
There were some good things that came out of COVID. I was able to invest a lot in my hobbies like playing video games competitively, which I can now do. But the biggest thing to come of COVID was our learning pod.
This was a collaboration between our family and a family from down the street. We rented out a church basement and hired the brother of the mother of the family we were working with to be a teacher/supervisor. He had recently graduated from university as a teacher. This meant that me and my two siblings as well as the two kids from the other family could have supervision and support with schoolwork and the parents could do their own work uninterrupted.
The best part about this was the teacher we hired. He was only 10 years older than me and he had a lot of the same hobbies. He was the closest to someone I could talk to about my interests. He was someone I could play Magic: The Gathering and Super Smash Bros with.
Having other kids, even if they were all younger than me, around gave us opportunities to do other activities, especially during the winter. We built a hill of snow and then hallowed it out, making it a fort. It stood for a really long time; I think maybe a month before it fell in on itself.
I still keep in touch with our teacher from that year, and he is probably the best thing that came out of COVID for me.