Currently…How schooling amid the pandemic has taken a toll on student mental health

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I think that I can speak for many students when I say that trying to stay positive and mentally healthy has been a challenge since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, especially in regards to school. We are used to walking into class every day and receiving instruction from our teachers, spending designated class time completing assignments, and having opportunities to ask questions. Social distancing has severely disrupted this routine; now students are learning the same material, but with remote and hybrid class schedules which makes it harder to process information and stay motivated.
I’m not the only person who has made this observation; According to experts at John Hopkins University, social distancing and the new way of online teaching can greatly affect student’s mental health. Many have reported feeling stressed and overwhelmed due to the workload remaining the same as normal school despite it being more difficult to complete without their instructors present.
There are many factors as to why students’ mental health has taken a hit during these unprecedented times. Some come from broken homes and going to school every day is their escape that they’re now missing out on. Others experience constant technology issues which makes it hard to stay on top of their classwork. Many students, like myself, find it difficult to stay focused and motivated while sitting in their bedroom all day, trying desperately to keep up with all of their assignments. The one thing that all of these students have in common is the constant feeling of being overwhelmed.
Not only do we have to deal with the stress of distance learning, but also the loss of daily social interaction with our peers. Before the pandemic hit, students had the chance to see their friends and classmates daily and I believe that it came as a culture shock when that was taken away so suddenly. Even with our hybrid schedule, we will not have as much interaction with other students like we did in the past. We will always be six feet away from one another and we will still only be present in the building two days a week. Additionally, due to our class days being split alphabetically by last name, some students won’t even be able to see their friends at all during school since they go to classes on another day.
In June, the company Gallup conducted a poll and their results revealed that three out of ten parents reported harm to their child’s mental health since the start of social distancing. These results put into perspective just how many teens are struggling with all of the restrictions put in place to stay safe and healthy.
So what can we do to stay positive in this new world of social distancing? I would recommend setting time aside for school work and getting all of it done early so you can spend more time doing things that make you happy. However, it’s draining to sit down for hours at a time to complete your work in one sitting, so taking breaks and setting aside time to focus on your mental health is crucial to staying positive as well. Another way to stay on top of schoolwork is to collaborate with classmates and work together on and help each other understand some assignments. Finally, remember that as of right now, this is our new normal, so we have to focus on adjusting to and making the best out of this unideal situation.