Be Kind to Yourself

Alicia Baca, Writer

For teachers and students all around the world, this year has been incredibly hard to deal with. Having to adapt to the current situation, whether it’s 6+ hours on your computer every day for an online school, or socially distancing for in-person school, everything is still relatively new to us. Over this past year, we have seen extreme changes, and consequently, students have been incredibly impacted by these changes.

In a study conducted by Psychiatric times, they administered a questionnaire to 59 children and 3254 adolescents aged 7 to 18 years during the spread of COVID-19. It showed 22.3% of youth had scores indicative of clinical depressive symptoms, which is higher than the 13.2% estimated prevalence of youth depression in China. Many normally straight-A students are now failing classes, and cannot find the motivation to get up and do school work on the computer for 6+ hours a day, every single day.

Mr. Merkel, Ralston Valley’s Head of Chair for the counseling team says,” Hang in there, because we’ve made it nearly a year, and we’re rounding the corner, and I think we’re a lot closer to the finish line than we are the starting gate.” Near the beginning of the year, he decided to follow a high schooler’s schedule for a day, and in regards to that, he said, “I was consciously trying to focus and be all in, and struggled with it a little bit. So, as each day leads into the next, I can only imagine how challenging it is for students.” He adds that “It’s okay to feel negative emotions, and have thoughts that aren’t always pleasant like that. That’s just part of being human.”

Junior Taja Marie, said, “It’s hard having to sit at a screen all day. I can see [why] people wouldn’t want to get up and do that every day. It’s like reliving the same day over and over again.” Like Ralston Valley, Pomona High school is also using a hybrid model for this school year where one group of students comes in for Mondays and Tuesdays, while the second comes in for Wednesdays and Thursdays, Fridays are remote. Alexis Castillo, Pomona sophomore said, “It gets old, you know, and especially being isolated and alone all day, I think that’s what has been the worst for my mental health and all of that.”

This is not only something that has impacted just the Ralston Valley community but students all around the world. Although this year has been hard to handle, we can only hope that changes will be made and that we can come together as a community to address and handle these challenges that we are facing. Remember, there are resources on the RVHS Counseling website, such as one-on-one meetings with counselors, peer counseling, etc.