Sophia Twigg and Thomas Dan-U’Ren

What have two young people like Sophia and Thomas shared in common during these recent COVID waves? Werwolves, that’s what! Read on and find out more as we get lockdown perspectives from both Canberra and Melbourne.

So what’s been happening in your life over this period?

Sophia (S): I’m doing Year 9 at Collingwood College this year. The Primary school I went to was a Steiner school which had a different way of learning than say State Schools. But Collingwood has two streams, the State stream and Steiner, and I’ve stayed in the Steiner stream. I knew a lot of other kids so it hasn’t really meant much difference.

Thomas (T): I’m living in Canberra and in Year 8. When we were in lockdown it was really strange. But I was able to maintain contact with friends both here in Canberra, in Melbourne and all over. Canberra is quite a bit smaller and quieter and you can get to places easier. I definitely prefer that aspect of Canberra compared to Melbourne. You also get to see people a lot more. Sometimes you’ll be talking to someone and they’ll mention another person and it’s like, “Oh, I’m friends with that person.”

What has changed due to COVID-19?

S: I have two older sisters and they’re usually out doing stuff, so it’s been really nice having them home and spending a lot more time with them than I usually would. We’ve been playing Monopoly Cards which is like a less intense version of the Monopoly board game. I like it better than the board game which gets me so annoyed because it goes for so long. I also like it because I usually win! I thought I’d miss my friends a lot, but it’s strange because, well, I do miss them but not as much as I thought I would.

T: I wasn’t able to play hockey, which is one of my main sports. We’ve therefore had a shorter season. We got the great news that we were in the finals, but then we realised that there were only four teams in the competition! But we’re in the finals, so there you go.

What has got you through?

S: I’ve been trying to build little routines. We have a park at the end of our street and I’ve been walking around there at recess for half an hour and that’s been really good.

T: Keeping in contact with friends and playing games on-line with a bunch of kids from school and from Melbourne. I play Minecraft and Sea of Thieves with them mainly. I’ve still got a lot of friends in Melbourne, so it’s been a good way to keep in contact with them.

What have you been doing that’s been stimulating or fun during this time?

S: I’ve been doing a lot of painting. I saw myself as a creative person but not very good at drawing. Some of my friends are really good at it and I kind of felt a bit intimidated by that. So it’s been really good to find something like painting which is easier for me to do. I use masking tape and put that on the paper and then then paint over the masking tape with acrylic paint. Then after I finish, I peel off the masking which leaves white lines over patterns or faces or whatever I feel like painting.

I also listen to podcasts at the same time. I always thought podcasts were really long, like an hour (groan), but when I’m painting the hour just flies by. I follow a lot of people on Instagram and most of them have a podcast, so I just listen in. It feels a bit weird when you think about it; like you know them really well but they don’t know you.

Playing ‘Werewolves’ at Youth Group has definitely been a highlight of my week. It’s a game where everyone gets a role – a werewolf, a town person, a witch, fortune teller etc. Then you ‘go to sleep’ and during the night the werewolves have to kill someone and when the town wakes up it has to try and figure out who the werweolves are.

T: Yeah, youth group has been fun and I’ve met some new people from that as well. ‘Werewolves’ has been fun. We also sometimes play a game called ‘Skribbl.io’, which is like a drawing game where somebody has to draw a word and people have to guess it.

Have you learned anything?

S: When quarantine started I really struggled with doing the work for school. After our Zoom meeting I’d feel quite unmotivated to actually continue the work. I was also doing it in my bedroom and I learned that that was not a very good idea – too many distractions! I’ve also learned that I need to have a break from social media. I tried not looking at things on my phone,  but that just doesn’t work. So I delete Apps like YouTube for two days a week then load them back up again. 

T: For me, I felt like I did my schoolwork better using outside learning. There weren’t as many classroom distractions and if I needed help with any of my work I’d call my friends. Coming out of lockdown and going back to face-to-face school was quite a big change again. But I’ve also realised that it’s good to see people face-to-face rather than just online.

What are you looking forward to most on the ‘other side’?

S: Going back to school was the ‘other side’ for me. We have a big gym at our school and I’ve  been really looking forward to going back in there for sports class. I really like P.E and sports and during ‘remote’ we’ve just been doing theoretical stuff. I’ve really missed going into the gym and actually playing soccer and basketball.

My grandparents own a sheep farm near Bendigo and every school holidays we usually go up to the farm, but because we can’t leave Melbourne we haven’t been able to go. When it’s lambing season my sister and I go and help my grandpa deliver lambs and things. When a lamb gets stuck my sister helps pull it out, but I haven’t actually done that yet – I open the gates while we’re driving through the paddock.

T: We’ve been out of lockdown for a while and seeing people face to face has been really good – during lockdown I just wanted to see people again. We’re allowed to do most things now. Cafes and restaurants are open but have a maximum number of people they can take at any one time.

There is going to be an end to it, a vaccine will be developed – we’re not going to be living like this forever.

What changes would you like not see in the wider world as we come out of the epidemic?

S: I feel like it’s taught a lot of people that we need to spend more time by ourselves and to slow down. We’re all so busy and we often run out of time to do that. Also, now that we’ve had a break from things I feel people have learned what we need to do as a society. Change is always going to take time and maybe this process has sped things up a little bit, but I still feel it’s going to take a long time to get us where we want to be.

T: People getting along with each other better would be good and understanding better what other people are going through. I’m quite optimistic that we can do that.

You’ve been taking parts during our YouTube services at Brunswick, Sophia, and I believe both of you will be involved in the BUC Christmas Pageant – what about acting?

S: I just started drama classes this year. In some situations I’m really confident and in others I’m really shy. For example, I don’t like public speaking at all. So the drama classes help me learn how to be in front of people and act. We’re doing an end-of-year performance that will be filmed on Zoom. Once a week we have Zoom meetings and run through the script and then eventually we’ll film it.

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