Tuesday, April 20, 2021
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First-Aid for a COVID-19 School Year

We are a little over halfway through the summer, and the dread of going back to school might be sinking in for some of you. Anxiety about new social situations, feelings of unpreparedness for the next year, and uncertainty about newly structured classes are all reasonable concerns. COVID-19 may be adding a few unexpected challenges we will have to adjust to this school year. So, I have put together some coping strategies for the classroom, simple academic advice, and essential information on our new secondary school structure in Durham. 

Being isolated for over five months has taken a toll on many people. Serious symptoms can be loneliness, feeling cooped up, and missing how things were. Whilst a lack of toilet paper is annoying but not serious. These concerns have led some of us to be less comfortable in situations that used to be routine. Thus, returning to school may be exciting or terrifying (or both). For those who are less excited, here are some coping strategies to help in your return to school:

  • Noisy environments can be dealt with by investing in some earbuds, headphones or by requesting to work in a quiet space in your school (Eg. the library or the guidance office).
  • Stress can be mitigated with some Box Breathing (I do it all the time). Simply inhale, hold, exhale, hold — all for the same duration. It is quite calming, and no one will judge you for taking a breath!
  • Other coping strategies can be found all over the web. Just search for what you need, and you will receive it.

Sometimes learning to cope with certain situations can be difficult. It takes practice and patience. Be gentle on yourself and don’t be afraid to do what you need to do to be more comfortable.

As we all know, the 2019/2020 school year did not end quite as planned, and some of us were not ready to transition to online learning. As a result, some of us are now feeling unprepared for the next year. Some ways to plan ahead to avoid the same problems in the fall would be to ask friends or prepare a list of things you need to clarify with your teacher. Never be afraid to ask questions and learn. None of us were expecting to be thrown into a pandemic and it has had quite a few consequences. Always reach out for help whenever you need it (it does not make you weak or pathetic in any way. I promise). We all learn at a different pace and it is okay to be confused at times.

Thus far, we know in-person and online schooling will be very similar. Instead of semesters, however, we will have quad-mesters. This simply means that instead of earning four credits after five months, we will be earning two credits after two and a half months. In addition to this, masks will be required, and class sizes will be decreased (against Ford’s pre-COVID wishes, yay) to aid with distancing. Other than that, classwork will be about the same, and we will still have to participate to get good grades. If you can, use the extra time at home to your advantage (I’ll be jamming to some music). 

To sum it up, we will be okay, my anxious friends. School might be the cause of a sizable amount of stress in your life right now, but we will get through it. All I can say is take it day by day, bit by bit. Maybe make some new memories along the way. You never know what will happen, and that might be frightening for some. It is okay to be anxious, just don’t let it run your life. I know it is hard sometimes, but trust me, there will be some moments you will be so glad to have experienced. That is what makes it all worth it. So, school here we come!

Tegwen P-L

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