Germany, Zeven: Nils Dahle, 18, student

5 | Essay-collection by students of a 12th grade English course

For me, the Covid-19 self-isolation began with the warning words of our politics teacher, who still held us back after our exhausting three-hour-exam. We had just heard the announcement from our school’s headmaster that there won’t be any “normal” school days for a very long time. While some classes sparked with joy because they already anticipated this, our class

had to focus. After all, we still had half of the exam in front of us. “Take this serious” our teacher said, “and try to prevent contact to other people as much as possible!” These words went into my ears and straight out again.

Just merely three days later I met with a friend for a bike trip. An exhausting, nevertheless, fun trip. Looking back, I think we all didn’t comprehend the full dimension of this quarantine thing. After all, we never experienced something just like that. My teacher’s words ringed in my head and I realized that we should really take this seriously. The whole world I knew changed and a self-reflecting began for me. I felt alienated, however, I have adapted to the new challenge and kept myself busy. But was all of that enough to not succumb to the loneliness?

Has anyone ever felt the sudden urge to just learn something new just to have something to do? This probably happened more commonly during the quarantine. However, after some weeks of playing video games and doing weekly tasks for school it all it felt more and more like nonsense. That’s why I started to look around for new things to do.

I dimly remembered the old guitar in the attic. After pushing aside tons of Christmas decorations and other ancient memorabilia I finally found the childhood guitar from my sister. Covered in cobwebs and tinsel it looked a bit smaller than I remembered it. My fingers were almost too big for the frets and I played my first stroke ever on a guitar.
My cat, that had curiously followed me and was still stunned by the tinsel, suddenly jumped 6ft into the air and if I’m honest I deeply understood why she did that. This guitar was tuned like it could cause ear cancer or some other ear infections. That left me with two options. The first one was to get a pair of really good earphones to fight crime with this guitar. And the second one was to figure out how to correctly tune a guitar before someone else hurts himself.
I choose the second one. And I did what everyone of the Generation Z would do: Check if there’s an app for that. Between lots of scam apps, I finally found one that worked for me.

There I sat. With a guitar in my hand, no idea how to play it but without any excuse to drop what I’ve started. With an endless amount of time and some motivation, I was more than ready to take action. How do you even play the guitar, was my next question. I knew that there were a bunch of chords but I had no idea how to play them. And again, I did what everyone from the Generation Z would do: I typed “how to learn guitar online (fast)”. All I found was just a minor Netflix series about drugs. How boring.

A bit more research and I found out that they all want my money. Being the little German scrimper I always have been, that was just unacceptable. So, I had to learn everything on myself. I made some progress after some time. Considering I was playing on a ten-year-old child’s guitar in bad condition I quickly played some cool songs. It was really relaxing to just sit down and play the guitar and I got more and more motivated. Everyone can learn Wonderwall by Oasis once you’ve understood the basics. It really is not as hard as it sounds.

This experience also taught me something about myself. Even though the schools try to take every will to learn something from you with boring and repeating tasks that are just nonsense, there is always a teeny-tiny bit left. I want to learn new stuff.

Learning the guitar was just one example of how I learned something completely new from scratch during the quarantine. I also got the affirmation that I’m a music enthusiast. I could listen to music the whole day and it wouldn’t be enough. Doesn’t matter if its Thrash-Metal, Power-Metal, Black-Metal or just my self-taught little campfire songs.