Community is Truly Valuable in More Ways Than you Might Guess

An informational piece on how humans need true community.

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Quarantine is a nightmare. I can feel my social batteries dying and in need of recharge. It’s dreadful and mentally draining. Days and nights are spent in the solitude of my small room reflecting on the distant memories of the past. I remember capitalizing on the clear blue sky and sunny days at Cypress Lakes golf course with my Falcon team, I remember the racket and banter of the Sadies dance and the hustle and bustle of “Superman: The Mad Scientist” at the Empress Theatre, I remember visiting my grandparents in Lincoln, spending long and precious hours in their company, I remember my 6:20 AM wake up alarm and preparing for a day of school, visiting with my friends and teachers and enjoying a good government lesson or two. 

Maybe you’re like me — remembering these better, simpler times. It’s only now, since I’ve lost these moments, that I realize I miss my sense of community. I did not value it or appreciate it as highly as I do now. Having the ability to commune with others around us is a privilege and a blessing and should not be taken for granted. 

Community doesn’t seem like something we should take value in. However, community should be observed and valued much more than we valued it before this “stay at home” experience. Students and faculty of VCHS, you must come to see our sense of community is far more important and impactful than you had imagined.

The coronavirus outbreak caused schools, restaurants, sports, and other places of large gathering to shut down. States all across America have issued “stay at home orders.” This means the rate of your contact with humans other than your immediate family has plummeted. Obviously, we value human contact, but you’d be surprised at how many benefits this contact brings to us. 

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that social ties can reduce deaths among people with serious medical conditions. Beverly H. Brummett and her colleagues reported in 2001 that among adults with coronary artery disease, the mortality rate was 2.4 times higher among those who were socially isolated.

A study by Harvard Health in December of 2010, which examined data from more than 309,000 people, found that lack of social relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50% — an effect on mortality risk “roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and greater than obesity and physical inactivity.

 In a 2010 report in The Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, Debra Umberson and Jennifer Karas Montez, sociology researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, cited evidence linking a low quantity or quality of social ties with lots of conditions, including the development and worsening of cardiovascular disease, repeat heart attacks, autoimmune disorders, high blood pressure, cancer, and slowed wound healing.

Community is something that we all need and should yearn for. A multitude of health benefits come from having community. People need people. Go back to VCHS and enjoy the school community. Enjoy being a vital part of the lives of those in your Spanish, art, broadcast journalism, and pre-calculus classes. “People need people when the highs get low;

The world’s a bit too heavy for one shoulder to hold” — from a song by Maddie & Tae.

Think about how you and your peers and teachers are touched by the sense of community they feel when you’re there. It takes many individuals to make up a community, a community is not made up of one individual. I create community at VCHS by being inclusive, friendly and interactive in classrooms and in the hallways. I make it a big part of my life, and so should you.