Interview: Shrawani Thapa On Creating a Real-Time Anthology of Gen-Z's COVID Experiences
YPC had a chance to ask Shrawani Thapa about her new anthology, Pandemic By Gen-Z
By the time Pandemic by Gen-Z was officially announced, in January of 2021, we were already around a year into the pandemic. How did the idea come about?
The idea for Pandemic by Gen Z came about in December of 2020. We were nearly a year into the pandemic, and I don’t think any of us expected to reach that milestone. December for me was a time of reflection about everything our generation had gone through. All of the lockdowns, quarantines, and countless losses we had endured since COVID had entered our lives. I knew I wanted people to know what we as a generation had gone through – that our story needed to be told.
I remember back in March, right before they officially announced it was a pandemic, wondering to myself how young people in past pandemics had coped, such as during the Spanish Flu in the late 1910s. I soon realized that, because young people in the past didn’t have the resources we have today, they weren’t able to share their stories of hardship and struggle. I decided that I wanted our generation to be different, to take advantage of the tools we have. And that’s how Pandemic By Gen-Z was born.
From the submissions you’ve received thus far, does there seem to be a consensus as to whether the pandemic has reaped mostly positive or negative effects on Gen-Z?
From the submissions I have received so far, it seems like the pandemic has had both positive and negative effects on young people. We can see that the positive effects are that the pandemic has helped us grow, and shaped our individual and collective identities, although at the expense of some freedoms, for example, being able to connect with one another and attend important events like graduation.
The pandemic has shifted our lives in such big, momentous ways that sometimes we forget the smaller ways that lifestyle restrictions have affected our psyche and emotional states. Do you think that by tapping into our creativity we can reconcile with our feelings, and emerge from this time more in touch with ourselves?
I think so. I would agree that it’s easy to forget the small ways that we’ve been affected by COVID and that by tapping into our creativity we can connect with ourselves more. It is really important that we express what we are feeling at this time, and that doesn’t just mean through talking. It can also be by way of paintbrush, pencil or camera. Creativity has a way of helping us to express what we are unable to voice and to reconcile ourselves with the negative emotions we feel.
In a way, Pandemic by Gen-Z is like a collective memoir: a representation of our generation’s experiences in a time of – if nothing else - great uncertainty. Does it feel like a daunting task, then, to be collating and editing our experiences, and is there pressure to represent our stories in the right way?
At times, it does feel intimidating. We’ve tried to include a lot of perspectives on the pandemic – although there is a lot of pressure to portray our stories in a singular, “correct” way. However, I firmly believe that the only “right” way to share our stories is by sharing our stories authentically, and keeping them as they are, because to make them into something different wouldn’t be sincere.
When can we expect Pandemic by Gen-Z to be out, and are there any previews that we can enjoy in the meantime?
We expect Pandemic by Gen Z to be out in-and-around Fall or Winter of this year! For previews, check out our website and IG page!