By MEERA HATANGADI
The Pandemic. The elections. Schools opening. The fires. 2020 has been a year like no other, filled with changes, challenges, and uncertainties about the future. With these obstacles obstructing the path of students at University High School, the usual stress levels that UHS is widely credited for have seen an increase among some students.
One cause of these increased stress rates, as described by senior Siddhi Pisal, is due to the rapid change in academics. “Stress levels got much worse as quarantine started,” said Pisal, “Online school took a toll on me, as assignments were more difficult and I spent more time on school rather than other activities.”
Pisal, like many students at UHS, has felt the pressure that online and hybrid schooling has placed on students. Both teachers and students walk on a path that has never been tread on before. As they attempt to navigate this new territory, students have adapted in different ways, exploring themselves in the process.
“I used quarantine as a time for me to reflect and work on myself,” Pisal said. “My mentality is now much better and I feel more content with myself, both physically and mentally.”
Just as Pisal has grown and adjusted to the stress of school during COVID-19, other students have found ways to adapt to the new circumstances and focus on what is most important to them. And in Pisal’s case, what is most important to prioritize for her, is her health and well-being,
“I prioritized myself over other activities such as school,” Pisal said. “It helps a lot in terms of health, as does time management and taking breaks from academic work by maybe going on a bike ride or a run.”
In addition to the fact that online schooling may be leading to an increase of stress and worsening of mental health in students, senior Jieon Kim has also been missing the social interaction aspect that students have not been able to experience.
“The most obvious change would definitely be the social distancing from the pandemic,” Kim said. “I’ve never been the type of person to hang out with friends or get touchy often, but now I isolate on a completely different level.”
Social distancing and the restriction placed on students during the pandemic may make students lonely and miss their peers. However, as the months have progressed, Kim has utilized various platforms to continue enjoying the company of her friends.
“I play League of Legends and watch anime with my friends through discord,” Kim said. “I talk about whatever I do, like college apps or schoolwork, with people.”
Kim, like many other students, has found ways of reaching out to her friends through COVID-friendly means. Rather than meeting her friends in person, she has talked to them online and in the process has maintained her relationships, while reserving the same prioritization for her safety.
Supplementing the academic and social aspects of these dire circumstances, senior Tiffany Leung has also worried for those most affected by the pandemic. “I’m more concerned about the safety of other people,” Leung said, “I know that there are some people who are more prone to coronavirus and I hope they are okay.”
During these stressful times, many uncertainties have been on students’ minds, not only concerning their own lives, but also the lives of others. Often this can be a heavy burden to bear. Nevertheless, just as Pisal and Kim have found their own unique ways to lessen this burden, Leung has found the same for herself.
“I have been using this time to paint and draw recently,” Leung said. “It has really helped me to relax and forget about all the things I usually worry about.”
During these unprecedented times, it is easy to get swept up in the stress of online schooling, the lack of social interactions, and all the uncertainties that the future may hold.
However, it is important to remember, as advised by Kim when she said, “Find a hobby that doesn’t require going outside,” Pisal when she said,”Always prioritize yourself,” and Leung when she said “sleep child”, that it is important to take care of oneself.
As always, remember to keep calm…and repeat.