Turkey – Doğa Evgür
When quarantine first started, I wasn’t aware of how serious the disease was. I did not really care, to be honest. So, I thought that quarantine wouldn’t last for very long. Because of this, the uncertainty of the duration of quarantine had not really scared me honestly. I thought it would end in one month or a very short duration of time. Later on, I realized that the situation was going to be very different.
To be honest, I did not really struggle during quarantine because I was spending a lot of time at home already. I was familiar with home, or I had an idea which activities I had to do. But, of course, considering the state of the world, not just corona but because so many things went wrong, I had to distract myself somehow. In this case, books, video games, movies, or any type of conversation I had with my friends became helpful.
Actually, in a weird way, I started talking more with my friends through the Internet, because there are so many ways to do it. There’s Zoom, but we also talked while playing games too. We played many games like Among Us, Dead by Daylight, and Don’t Starve Together during quarantine. With my family, actually, because my mom is a teacher, I used to always spend time with my mom. But my dad was always traveling to different cities, and wasn’t at home a lot. Because of COVID, we’ve spent more time together, and we became closer, so I’m happy that quarantine gave me that.
Generally in Turkey, maintaining social distancing was everywhere when COVID began. Rules like wearing masks were required everywhere. Guest visits were completely banned, and people under the age of 21 and over the age of 65 could not go outside at all for the first 3 months.
Actually, just last week, we were going to in person school, but because the amount of cases increased this week, they said to close school to students again, except for kindergarten. Virtual learning has been hard for me because there are so many distractions and I just cannot concentrate on class. Of course I need to somehow get used to this because I believe we will continue virtual learning next year, and next year is my last year of high school. Honestly, I’m worried because of this. For social studies classes, like history or Turkish, where I can understand the class by myself if I read, I don’t really have any difficulty. In these classes, I can continue learning easily. But for other, numerical classes like physics or mathematics, I struggle.
I haven’t started preparing for the Turkish university entrance exams just yet, because all of my friends in the twelfth year told me that if I start studying now I’ll forget everything when the exams come around. For this reason, I’m leaving most of my preparation for my last year in high school, but unfortunately, I still have A-level exams. I have no idea why we have them, but I did have to start preparing for those because the tests will be in June.
All of my friends have already decided where they want to go, however, as well as their careers, and I feel pressured to decide as well even though my exams are later. I started researching which universities I want to go to, and it seems like engineering is the most likely thing I’ll do. I am not sure about which type yet, maybe computer engineering, industrial engineering, or electrical. All of these seem likely at the moment. My dad is an electrical engineer, and he does these engineering projects sometimes. I was never involved hands-on, but I really enjoy observing what he does. We do have a robotics club at my school, but because everything here is memorization based and test based, the club was actually just extra math classes, or Turkish classes under the name of robotics. It was a robotics club only in the name.
For university, it would be really great if I could get into a prestigious school like ODTU (Middle East Technical University), Bilkent, or Boğaziçi. Of course, I would have to study a lot, and that’s a bit difficult. Other than that, going to university abroad might be nice. I’ve been researching schools in Germany, because my uncle lives there, as well as other countries in Europe.
Of course, when Covid will end, when it won’t end, is the primary question in all of our minds. Other than that, I do have stress about university too. But I actually do not think much about the future. To tell the truth, I always think about how I can get through today.
But to be honest, I just want COVID to end, because the number of cases keeps increasing, and I really do not want to see more human deaths in the future. I heard the virus could mutate, and if in the next few years something like that happens and sets back all of our progress, that would be very problematic. I hope that we do find a cure soon, but for now, I do wish that everyone stays safe and takes care of themselves for however long COVID is around.
Special thanks to Öykü Cansu Öktem for helping with translation on this interview!