Quarantine Diaries forum unites Gen Z

On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 an international pandemic, resulting in global stay-at-home orders and quarantine restrictions. As millions of people began sheltering-in-place, Redwood alum and college sophomore Katherine Chuang started fleshing out a plan for what would later become an interactive website, Quarantine Diaries.

Providing resources for high school and college students, Chuang is the founder of Quarantine Diaries.

Quarantine Diaries is a website that provides a safe place for Generation Z (Gen Z) to converse and reflect on the issues facing high school and college students, including mental health, sexuality, adulthood and loneliness. The forum is run by a team of six college students whom Chuang has assembled to produce content for the website such as blog posts, educational resources, journal diaries and podcasts. Chuang was inspired to create Quarantine Diaries after seeing the toll the lockdowns in March took on her loved ones. 

“I saw a lot of my friends and family become really isolated. It broke my heart seeing that [Gen Z] didn’t have a form of escape. I really took that time for introspection and a lot of self-reflection,” Chuang said. “I was thinking about where I want my life to go, where I’m going and the path I’m going down and realized I really want to make an impact on my generation.” 

Redwood alum Tim Koen, a college classmate of Chaung, is one of the team members at Quarantine Diaries. Koen’s role is to recruit students for leadership positions within the project and manage the Quarantine Diaries podcast. When Chuang reached out to Koen with the idea for Quarantine Diaries, he saw an opportunity for personal growth and to learn more about the issues impacting GenZ.

On the website, students can find an array of resources ranging from educational information about COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement to college starter kits for students. However, the heart and soul of Quarantine Diaries is their blog, where Chuang and team members delve into topics such as toxic masculinity, body image

Educating about issues like financial literacy, Quarantine Diaries starts conversations around topics pertaining to Gen Z.

and imposter syndrome. Each blog post typically receives more than 100 readers.

“The blog is the main component of the whole platform. Our team of writers post about whatever they want to talk about. Being able to read about what the writers are feeling and going through [in these blog posts] is so special because you really can’t find that anywhere else,” Chuang said.

Due to the sensitive topics discussed in blog posts, Chuang and Koen refer to Quarantine Diaries as a foundation for their ‘Vulnerability Movement,’ a campaign aimed at encouraging young people to openly discuss and share their most vulnerable selves with others. 

“It’s the vulnerability that my team and I are able to show through these blog posts that have created what I like to call this ‘Vulnerability Movement’ for teens because I am a firm believer that being vulnerable helps you grow and become more honest with yourself and helps you become more open-minded,” Chuang said. “It is really critical for growth and self-reflection. That’s something we really emphasize and

Writing and producing content for the website, Koen is a team member and podcast director at Quarantine Diaries.

that’s what people love the most [about our platform].”

Chuang’s favorite aspect of the website is the financial literacy section, which presents research on how to make informed decisions about managing and growing one’s finances. Chuang hopes that the financial literacy page will start a conversation about savings and financial stability amongst GenZers.

“I am really heated about kids not learning about financial literacy [in school] … This pandemic has really shown us the importance of savings, and I wanted to compile at least a jumping-off point for financial literacy,” Chuang said.

Junior Noah Ong Bamola has been using the Quarantine Diaries website for four months and believes all Redwood students should engage with the platform.

 “As high schoolers, we all greatly depend on socialization to cope with our adolescent lives and I think Quarantine Diaries does a great job of capturing how us teenagers are feeling during this time and it gives us a medium to relate to each other,” Ong Bamola said.

While Chuang and Koen are both happy with the current success of Quarantine Diaries, they are also looking forward to further developing the website and making it applicable to more than just a pandemic lockdown. 

Learn more about Quarantine Diaries and explore resources for Gen Z by scanning this QR code.

 “The title ‘Quarantine Diaries’ implies that we would be sticking just to the quarantine, but I don’t think that’s going to be the case [for much longer]. It’s a project that I’ve kind of fallen in love with,” Koen said.