Students struggle with mental health during remote learning

With school now at home, students attempt to separate work and relaxation

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Illustration by Isabelle Coburn

The stress of remote learning has taken a toll on many students’ mental health.

Kylie Thomsen, Staff Writer

It’s another Monday morning and senior Jude Lee sits up and grabs their computer to start their day. They start their first period just like any other student during these times, at their computer staring at their screen.

Hours later, when they are stressed and tired, they finally end class. But the stress of remote school continues to be a detriment on many students’ mental health.

Students this year struggle to stay motivated and continue to miss out on school events causing their mental health to decrease during the past six months of remote learning.

“We [the Class of 2021] aren’t going to get a junior prom or a senior ball and our graduation might have to be four different days split up,” Lee said. “So going through college applications and not being able to see our teachers for recommendations, I definitely feel like I’m missing out.”

Missing out on events like junior prom and senior ball can be mentally damaging for many seniors. Not only is it difficult to miss out on dances, but seniors are also having to go through the college application process alone.

During remote learning, the college recruitment process can be a struggle mentally for seniors, and the pandemic makes it more difficult to talk to their counselors.

“It’s hard not being able to go see my counselor and be able to talk to her about scholarships,” Lee said. “Since she’s dealing with hundreds of other students who are also going through the same stuff she then can’t reply to all my emails.”

As the seniors trek through a difficult year, underclassmen like sophomore Julius Ferrer find it difficult to separate school and relaxation.

Around this time last year, students would be able to go to school and work on all assignments and then once they would get home, they would be able to relax. But since students are at home this year, it’s very hard to separate school and relaxation.

“Home is a place where you’re supposed to be relaxing and not doing school,” Ferrer said. “But it’s been difficult to do both at home.”

Finding peace in a place where students are both in their workspace and their safeplace can be very confusing and stressful for students during remote learning. 

Some students, including Ferrer, have found new ideas to step away from the stress of online learning and find time for themselves.

“If anything, this last semester has taught me how important it is to maintain the same schedule I did before quarantine,” Ferrer said. “[I] stick to my old routine because if I don’t, I could get lazy.”

School counselors shared a variety of resources to encourage the mental wellbeing of students. After six months of school, support counselor Patty Mullins has helped give advice and encouragement to those struggling during remote learning. 

“I hope students find time to go outside and get some fresh air,” Mullins said. “They need to control what they can control and take time for themselves.”

Finding time to relax and calm down after a day of virtual learning can be very difficult, but it can be extremely difficult to find time and places to safely go outdoors. 

Junior Catherine Casserly found it really hard to find mental peace and relaxation at the beginning of quarantine, but as she continued to stay isolated, she found new things to do to calm herself mentally.

“I take time for homework and exercise and then I find time to be creative,” Casserly said. “So I’ve gotten into painting, listening to music, and reading more and that’s helped me a lot.”

Some students like Casserly have found new indoor creative hobbies to calm themselves mentally, but others like freshman Addison Erridge find it better to follow what Mullins said and go outside.

“I find it nice to get away from my computer, and go outside and to play lacrosse or skateboard,” Erridge said.

Whether it’s skating or reading, participating in activities that make students feel mentally stable are needed. Without these outlets, students wouldn’t be able to find any peace during remote learning.

These past ten months have been unexpected and really stressful and difficult for everyone. Remote learning has taught students how to find the best within themselves and to take care of themselves and their mental health.

“This year has made me realize how much my mental health has grown,” Lee said. “The fact that all these bad things are happening and yet I’m still finding time to not be in that bad place mentally, so this year has really taught me balance and how to grow into a better mental state than I was last year.”