From eviction to mental health: high school students face difficult challenges in the midst of the Coronavirus


When it comes to the effects of the coronavirus and quarantine, people are quick to point out the obvious: boredom at home, not being able to go outside, and difficulty connecting with others, but there are more effects than just the obvious.

Living paycheck to paycheck is one of the lesser known, long-term effects of the pandemic. Those who live by waiting on the next paycheck work like a balancing act: trying to balance how much money is used on food, but also save for bills.

Destiny Gonzalez, a junior at Redlands East Valley High School, understands this struggle. “It is worrisome, because you don’t know if this check will last the time it needs to, ” Gonzalez said. “Sometimes you have to cut some necessities off just to make it to the next paycheck.” 

Photo made with Autodesk Sketchbook, a drawing and sketching app. (Aileen Janee Corpus / Ethic News)

For others, this was just another way of living, but it is now harder due to pay cuts and layovers. REV senior Celeste Chala also experiences the hardship of balancing money, “My mom gets really stressed out even more now because the rent is higher especially in a house, even if she is paying half the rent.”

REV sophomore Brooke Rowan and her family recognize the difficulty of adjusting to a lower budget, “As soon as we get [a check] we already know where the money is going, but we still seem to have a little bit of money to do some fun and cheap activities. Rowan and her family use their extra money “as vacations, trips to San Diego, [or] going to amusement parks.”

Losing one’s home, or commonly known as eviction, is another effect of the pandemic; it can bring extreme amounts of stress due to the fact that the tenant must leave at a certain date without accounting the amount of belongings in the home.

“It was the worst because the owner only gave us like a month to leave,” said REV sophomore Natalee Lopez, “and it was 10 years worth of stuff in the house”

Renters living under the threat of eviction experience poorer self-reported health outcomes, such as high blood pressure, according to authors of a 2017 study published in ScienceDirect.

“The [eviction] was stressful to [my mother’s friend],” said REV senior Celeste Chala, “it came to the point where [she was] so stressed out she had a seizure in Target. We were given a short amount of time and I believe that they expected us to pay some money up until move out day.”

Especially during this time of extreme changes, mental health can be greatly improved or deteriorated. Some students find ways to make use of the extra time at home by self-care and learning new skills.

“[I have m]ore time for mental stability,” said REV senior Gloria Bahena, “[and to] find peace within myself and develop new skills such as learning new languages.” Bahena believes that without quarantine, her mental health would have definitely been worse, but that too much of a good thing cannot always be good. 

Some students might feel drained after being on a computer for so long or not having enough face-to-face interaction with friends.

“Honestly, I am a very social person,” said REV freshman Haylee Lyon, “and without physical contact, it’s very hard to find a way to stay positive.”

Other students feel relieved from not having to deal with drama at school, such as REV junior Chloe Moore, who said “I’ve had a lot of free time to focus on my mental stability. I’m so much happier, and I don’t have to deal with drama at school.” 

Kaedyn Nelson a REV sophomore has been learning new skills and taking time to self-reflect. “I have started to learn how to drive, [and] I started dancing again,” said Nelson. “Distance learning has forced me to really sit down and pay attention, and get good grades. Yes, my freshman year was very bad: I was in and out of trouble, and I lost my phone for another year. During quarantine I was so stressed with the fact that I couldn’t go to school or see my friends or just go out anywhere, that I decided to make decisions to get me in trouble for the three months. After that I really focused on myself and what I could do better.”

Making sure that there is food on the table, moving out of a loved home, or taking care of one’s mental health are feats that anyone could be facing.

Rowan sees the light at the end of the tunnel, “I’m still sort of hopeful that we can get through this together as a whole.”

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