By Madeline Hammett
As the pandemic seems to drag on, it feels as though dealing with it has become more and more difficult for high school students. Feelings of loneliness and isolation are only getting worse, and many students are finding difficulty in staying motivated in school.
Students with ADHD and other learning hindrances are finding it especially difficult during this time to manage school work. A non-traditional school environment is creating frustration among teenagers across the country as they struggle to maintain their grades.
“School work has been a lot harder for me being online,” sophomore Mackenzie B. says. “I have ADHD which I know a lot of students struggle with, and being at home is only making that struggle worse. Being at home has made it more difficult for me to stay focused without having that traditional classroom environment.”
As students transition back and forth from in-person and virtual learning environments, students have struggled to remain focused and motivated. 71 percent of teenagers said that online schoolwork has spiked feelings of depression and anxiety. As some learning remains virtual, there has been difficulty in retaining new information and ability to stay focused during this stressful time.
As students continue to practice social distancing guidelines, feelings of missing out and longing for a normal school year have spiked.
“The most difficult thing for me to manage during this time is all of my schoolwork while having the uncertainty of online classes some days and in person learning other days,” Mackenzie B. says. “It’s difficult for me to keep track of my work and stay organized, I just feel like I can’t win sometimes.”
Fear of Missing Out
As students continue to practice social distancing guidelines, feelings of missing out and longing for a normal school year have spiked.Loss of school dances and traditional high school aspects have created disappointment, and in some cases, a detriment to mental health.
“I have missed school dances the most this year,” sophomore Ella S. says. “I just wish I could have my normal school year back. I miss having high school dances and dates. Sometimes I feel like I have to do all of the difficult parts of high school without getting a reward or time to blow off steam.”
“Teen mental health has suffered from social distancing and the widespread uncertainty brought by the Coronavirus outbreak,” says a new survey conducted by the Harris Poll. “Seven out of ten students report that they have been struggling with their mental health during this time, and 55 percent of students report feelings of anxiety or depression while in quarantine.”
How to Cope
Feelings of isolation and stress as a result of social distancing and quarantine have impacted the lives of many students. The most important way to deal with this pandemic is to stay connected especially when students feel loneliness or anxiety.
“The thing that has probably helped me the most through this pandemic has been staying connected,” Mackenzie B. says. “Although my friends and I can’t meet in person right now, we talk over FaceTime and Snapchat in order to keep in contact. It’s really easy to feel isolated right now especially during online school. The most beneficial thing for students is to reach out to their friends.”
Virtual learning and self-quarantine aren’t ideal. It’s normal to have feelings of missing out. Dealing with this pandemic at such a young age hasn’t been easy for teens. The most important thing for students to remember right now is that they’re not alone.
How to Stay Focused in School
With online school and a less traditional school environment, it’s easy to slip into feeling lazy and unmotivated.
“When I am online, I just don’t feel the need to try as hard,” junior Lily T. says. “When we went into quarantine last year in the spring, I definitely did see a drop in my grades. I felt completely unorganized and stressed about my assignments.”
While every student is different and has different learning styles, maintaining an order of regularity proves to be the most important aspect of successful virtual learning.
“Having a routine to follow every morning before virtual classes has helped me the most,” Mack B. says. “I try to get out of my pajamas before classes, take a shower, eat a good breakfast, and just try to have as normal of a routine as possible. Being at a desk also has really helped me to stay focused. Putting myself in a good workspace with little distractions has helped me to finish all of my assignments and pay attention during Zoom classes.”
Editor’s Note: Madeline Hammett is a sophomore at the Episcopal School of Dallas, where she is a staff writer for the school newspaper, The Eagle Edition. In her free time, she loves to read, write, and listen to music.