S3-EP9: An 18-year-old Reflects on Starting College in Lockdown and What She Will Tell Her Children About the Pandemic

Nov 26, 2020


Debbie talks to her niece Phoebe about being 18 years old in 2020, starting college in lockdown, and what she’ll tell her kids about living through the pandemic.



Debbie Weil chats with her niece, Phoebe Weil, about her experience living through COVID. While the audience for this podcast is those in midlife and older (50-plus), there is a lot to be learned from someone younger about what it’s like to handle the disappointments of the pandemic. Someone who’s been missing out on some of life’s most memorable milestones.

Debbie knew just the person to tell  this story: her 18-year-old niece. Phoebe missed senior spring of high school, she missed her high school graduation, and now she’s started college where she’s been in lockdown on her campus all fall.

But she remains so very optimistic. Inspired by Anne Frank, she’s been keeping a journal that she hopes to share, one day, with her children. She’s hitting the books to study organic chemistry (she tells us about the advantage of attending an all women’s college as a science major). And she’s keeping up her YouTube channel, which has over 5,000 subscribers. 

Phoebe notes that it was Anne Frank’s impulse to record history while living through it that inspired her to start writing a journal.  She clarified in an email: “One doesn’t know how powerful an accounting of a historic moment can be while they’re living in it. I wanted to document my day-to-day life so that in the future I could read how I was feeling during the pandemic we live in now. In no way am I equating my experience living in COVID-19 to Anne Frank’s experience in the Holocaust.”

Finally, what’s Phoebe’s NEW BEST THING to come out of the pandemic? Writing letters, snail mail letters. And she’s prolific. Her Aunt Debbie and Uncle Sam have received a bunch.

We can all get a lift from Phoebe’s steady and refreshingly positive attitude.


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Note from Debbie

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– Debbie


If you are interested in reaching a smart and thoughtful audience of midlife (GenX and Boomer) listeners, who are open to adventure and change, reinvention at 60+, and who think differently about lifestyle, finances, and retirement, contact Debbie.

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Thanks to our media partners

Encore.org, our newest media partner, is an ideas and innovation hub tapping the talent of those 50+ as a force for good. Founder and CEO Marc Freedman is an award-winning social entrepreneur and author, most recently, of How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations. Looking for a great gap-year transition program? Check out Encore Fellowships, which match skilled, seasoned professionals with social-sector organizations in high-impact, paid assignments.


Modern Elder Academy is a program dedicated to navigating mid-life transitions. MEA, based in Baja California, Mexico, provides the place and the tools to start reframing your lifetime of experience. Grow whole, not old. Founder Chip Conley is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning hospitality entrepreneur and a rock star of the mid-life transition movement. His newest book is Wisdom @ Work: the Making of a Modern Elder.


Next For Me is an important new resource for the 50+ crowd focused on rewriting life. Taking a gap year or timeout may be the best way to figure out "what's next" when you're in this stage of life. Founder Jeff Tidwell explains, Next For Me "connects and inspires our generation to evolve our post-50 lives through new work, a new purpose, or a new social contribution."