By Siddrah Alhindi

Name: Yara Soliman
Age: 19
Borough (or hometown): Staten Island
Occupation: Student

How has your life changed during the pandemic? Please give me some specifics

I think everyone’s lives changed drastically. Aside from economical and financial changes, I think everyone’s mental health has been affected as well. Not to say that it changed for the negative only, but it also had some positive outcomes. I think it made room for discipline and forced us all to create routines and focus more on our lives. Overall and personally speaking, I think it helped me gain a new perspective on life as a whole that I did not see before the pandemic.

What has been your biggest challenge during the pandemic and how are you dealing with it? 

The biggest challenge for me, and I feel like many people my age would agree with this, is that I found it hard to stay positive during a time where everyone seems to be so pessimistic and tense. It is challenging to try to make the most out of the situation now and still find fun things to do even though the world is so different than what it used to be. The way I deal with this challenge is by safely hanging out with close friends and doing things virtually. For example, having picnics outdoors during the summer or watching a movie on a program that lets us video chat at the same time, etc.

How has your social life changed? Have you taken up a new mode of transportation? What about more mundane aspects of life like errands, haircuts, and food shopping

Due to social distancing, I can’t see my friends as much as I used to before, and I just have a closer circle now for the sake of me, my family, and my friends’ health. I haven’t taken a new mode of transportation because I have a car and I drive. I used to drive to school before and I never really needed to take public transportation. The only thing that changed in terms of everyday activities is the mask situation. I feel like at the beginning of the pandemic it was definitely stricter and scarier because we didn’t know much. Yet now I feel like things are slowly but gradually getting back to normal.

Interview by Siddrah Alhindi. Interview was edited for length.

Crossing guard directs pedestrians on Seaview Avenue in Staten Island.
Customers shop at a supermarket on Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island.
Woman leads her child to her car outside her home in Staten Island.
Lone, masked woman crosses a bridge in Staten Island.

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