COVID is Gen Z’s “Where were you when the world stopped?” moment. Has it inspired them to do something different in life? What lessons have they taken from living through a pandemic? We gave our PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs kids an assignment: a video diary on how they feel now about a post-COVID future.


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Alexandra Malan, Novi Middle School We’re not all the same people, so we don’t react to things the same way that other people do. So the way I reacted to the pandemic or the way it impacted me was different than how it impacted some of my friends. And I think the lesson I learned from that was just: be kind, be a good friend.

Summer Angus, Novi Middle School I’ve learned how to cope in difficult situations. I’ve learned how to stay happy and all the highs and lows. And I learned to not take anything for granted because something like this can just knock us all back down again and be back where we started.

Harrison Ruskin, Novi Middle School That you should be flexible because things can really change really fast, and you really don’t know what’s going to come and happen.

Clare Jones, Mercy High School Whether it was not being able to go to school every day, whether it was simply not going to a friend’s house because they had to quarantine.

It was something that took a lot of getting used to, especially for someone like myself who likes to plan every second of their day out. And I also learned to have patience.

Micah Martin, FV Pankow Center The changes that affected me the most in 2020 was losing loved ones. It was definitely an eye-opener that COVID is literally so scary.

Nathan Schihl, FV Pankow Center My thoughts about the world have changed because I feel like for a moment we’re all coming together with COVID. We all just want to beat COVID. Now, I feel like everything’s just falling apart.

Max Garan, FV Pankow Center My thoughts on how the world has changed this year is just that I think it’s a cruel place right now. Everybody’s just going at each other really badly.

Connor Liegghio, FV Pankow Center I think that people really need to start coming together and stop being so selfish, because if we want the pandemic to come to an end or at least get a lot better, we need to just work together.

Laniah Hollis, FV Pankow Center I don’t know how long we’re going to have to wear these masks, but I think I’m going to wear them after the pandemic just to be on the safe side.

Nick Phillips, FV Pankow Center I definitely feel like I care more about the health of the people around me and the health of my being, of course. And I definitely feel like I’ve learned that people need to start taking care of themselves more.

Dante Johnson, FV Pankow Center Seeing everyone being affected negatively when it comes to finances, it really got me into things like building wealth and stocks. And it kind of set, like, put me on a track of what I want to do in the future.

Carlos McWhorter, FV Pankow Center  I think the pandemic I see means a better person because I’ve been reading a lot more, working out, talking to people a lot more at home than I would in school.

Nick Schultz, FV Pankow Center Kind of went through this whole social reconstruction with myself. I just kind of redrew the boundaries that I put on myself.

Elliot Corbin, FV Pankow CenterA lesson that I learned was that you need to, like, appreciate your time with your friends while you have it. You can’t take going outside or even simple things like going to the movie theater or like going to concerts for granted.

Angelnae Randalle, Fraser High School I think we all learned a lot about each other and society and culture. And I think that was a blessing because a lot of us were open to it. And I feel like I knew a lot, but I learned even more about my own culture and about how to stand up for something I really believe in.

Micah Martin, FV Pankow Center Compared to last year, I’m a lot more mature. I look at life completely different because of how it was changed, and I’m honestly a lot happier now. And I’m in a better mental state.