It comes as no surprise how online school can be challenging for many students in our communities. From distractions to lack of motivation, there are many challenges in this difficult time.
“I do think I’ve lost motivation and I’ve been getting really tired,” said HGMS sixth grade student Hailey Saucedo-Capote, who is under some stress and difficulties right now in our situation.
After months of experience in this difficult new way of living, we have found ourselves in hard and stressful situations, but by now we have come up with ways to cope with our stress. It’s definitely important to discover new and efficient ways of maintaining our mental health and making sure our brain gets a break when it needs it. So, how is our community handling this situation, and what can you do to help yourself?
Hailey spoke to me about what she deals with at home and how she can cope with it. Hailey explained, “By the second class of the day I usually get used to the screen, but after a few hours usually my head begins to hurt, and I just don’t want to look at a screen anymore.” Many other students feel the same way about looking at screens all day.
But while Hailey was underneath all this stress staying at home the whole day and not being able to get much human interaction or fresh air, she has been able to discover new ways to cope with the situation.
“Just going outside, even if it’s just stepping out of your apartment door, just not being in your home for even just two minutes, really helps me calm down and get a break. When I’m at home, I worry more about school and things that are happening at home, but when I’m not home it’s not something I have to worry about anymore,” she said.
Sebastian Suarez, an eighth-grade student at the Mott Hall School, also can agree with a few things Hailey mentioned.
Sebastian said, “Apart from getting sleepy from looking at a screen all day, I would say online school is okay, but it’s not my favorite.”
Sebastian feels that online school has given the teachers an opportunity to “give us more work to make up for the fact that we’re not in person, so it puts a lot more stress on us.”
To cope with his stress, like what Hailey explained, he said that when he needs a break he leaves his apartment.
“I’ll go outside, to the park on a walk, and sometimes go to Starbucks. Sometimes I’ll see a friend,” he said.
Sebastian continued to explain, “When I need a break from the screen, I enjoy cooking, biking, and I’m trying to get into swimming.”
I talked to a parent at the Hamilton Grange Middle School and heard their thoughts about how their child is doing with online learning and some things you can do to give your mind a break when you need it after being on a screen all day inside most of the week.
He said, “Well I would say that just sitting isn’t very healthy, whether there is a computer screen in front of you or not,” he explains. He then tells me, “You should regulate yourself to close the screen and go do something else. As I always suggest to my daughter, she likes to paint, and also draw. Things that don’t have something to do with the computer.”
This parent suggested that going on walks, or stepping outside the door to just breathe fresh air can help clear your mind out, and make you ready and feel prepared and energized for the next few hours indoors.
“Out of all the alternatives to sitting in front of a computer the whole afternoon, I think going out for a walk is the best one. To go for an actual walk,” he continued to tell me.
Overall, this confusing era in our lives definitely isn’t the easiest for anyone. Distractions come, and students may feel super isolated, with no friends or teachers by their side. But with new ways to cope with our stress, we’ve come up with new ways to take care of ourselves and our communities.