Written by Melinda Sewak, Fun Super Tutor for Enhanced Prep
Well, 2020 took a turn.
Right as you were getting into the swing of a new semester, perhaps, starting to prep for finals and AP exams, or beginning to look forward to your summer plans, school closed, learning went virtual, and future steps became suddenly uncertain.
High school in the time of COVID-19 has been thrust into a college-shaped space. Gone are 8-hour days. Instead, you and students everywhere are having to contend with limited classes, increased independence, and brand-new timelines. Your screen now separates you from your friends, your classmates, and any semblance of normalcy, and though it’s unclear when you’ll be able to get back to school, you’re still in high school–and therefore still in college prep mode!
By its very nature, the college admissions process forces a task-oriented mentality. There are requirements to address, essays to write, and forms to complete. Of course, that’s all on top of the present ambiguity of virtual school assignments and standardized testing, which evolve daily. Things are different, you’re stressed, and the last thing on your mind, perhaps, is your mind.
But here’s the truth: now, more than ever, is the time to slow down, be present, and take stock of your mental health.
Take a deep breath. No, really. Right now. Put one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. Are they there? Okay good. Now imagine a smooth, gentle, calming voice telling you to breathe in for four counts – one, two, three, four – and out for four counts – one, two, three, four. Feel a bit better?
Mindfulness matters, and it can be as simple as a series of deep breaths, a quiet walk, a FaceTime coffee date with a friend, or a short workout. Mindfulness is simple, but it’s not easy. It can be tempting to try to fill your calendar right now, cramming more into your day to take advantage of all of this new “free time.” But with greater flexibility in your daily schedule it can be easy to do too much and to get overwhelmed, therefore limiting your overall productivity and compromising your mental health. Just as new college students have to learn how to manage their time both to be productive and to stay healthy, high school students will have to learn to do the very same to stay present in the midst of this uncharted territory.
There are a number of resources available to help students manage their time and their sanities, and a couple are listed below. Take advantage of these resources, take stock of what you need to stay healthy, and remember to take care of yourself through the uncertainty.
*internal note: include links to other blog posts, which are about productivity management and remote learning during this time