The sophomore year slump. Your freshman year jitters are out of the way, but college applications are not yet on the forefront of your mind. COVID ripped away the chance of finishing your first year of high school like ripping off a Band-Aid, and now you feel stuck. How can you make sophomore year successful if you have spent most of it trying to get your WiFi to work right before you log onto your Zoom classes for the day?
First and foremost, it is not selfish to prioritize your mental health. We are living in a time of isolation; a concept that previously seemed foreign to most. The transition to school in-person and full time has been exhausting to say the least, and it is important to let yourself recharge. We went from a year predominantly filled with relaxed Zoom calls where we could hide behind the comfort of our blank squares (and logging off early if we were lucky enough to have technical issues), to having to endure the course of our jam-packed schedules everyday. It is not fair to your body or your mind if you are not getting rest after this tough transition. Personally, journaling about my experiences during the pandemic has been a great outlet to relieve emotions that I have bottled up during the course of the lockdown. I have been learning to not get so wrapped up in trying to have my journal match a certain Pinterest aesthetic. Instead of focusing on how it looks, I focus on how the act of writing makes me feel. The stream-of-consciousness writing technique (where you write anything and everything that crosses your mind) helps ground me back to writing authentically. In addition, guided meditations are great to calm nerves, especially if COVID statistics are making you feel anxious. Further, I recently took a mental health day and came back to school feeling more refreshed and accomplished. I am also an avid reader, and as silly as it sounds, books have been a helpful escape from the COVID reality. Truly becoming immersed in a world different than ours has given me a sense of relief throughout this uneasy time.
In addition, we never got the opportunity to fully see what freshman year at Marblehead High had to offer, and it is valid if you are feeling disappointed. If there was a club that you wanted to join last year but did not get the chance to, check if you can join in this year! This school year has been a tough hurdle to jump, but it is not too late to find your footing. During the height of quarantine last year, I pessimistically assumed that extracurriculars would be shut down this year, and I would have no way of getting myself more involved in the MHS atmosphere. However, I joined two more great clubs! Although they have been remote most of the year, they helped me feel more connected within the school environment.
Thirdly, go easy on yourself. It is challenging to go back to old social situations, study habits, sleep schedules, and any other routine that many have gotten lost in the pandemic. Just take this school year day-by-day, and then summer will be here before you know it!