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Hey guys! I hope everyone is having a really great month so far. I know I have been busy trying to balance all of my schoolwork and still enjoy myself. 

However, lately certain things don’t seem to bring as much of a smile to my face because COVID-19 cases are rising in a lot of states. And for me, the cold weather means staying cooped up inside and the looming threat of…remote learning. Let’s just back up for a second though, because if you are unfamiliar with the experience of learning remotely, I’ll fill you in. 

Way back in March, schools got shut down and everybody ran out of class as fast as they could and celebrated the fact that we would be doing school online for a few weeks. Then, we would return to school to finish the year and life would go on as planned. No, that’s not what happened. Not at all. Well, school did get shut down, and we were happy- at first. 

For the first few weeks I loved learning remotely. I could sit on my warm and cozy couch while doing science, and for math I could solve problems with my kitten purring next to me. I missed my friends, but hey, it was a pandemic, and I knew it wouldn’t be smart to see them. Well, then March turned into April and April turned into May. We still weren’t back at school, and how I felt about remote learning by then couldn’t have been more different than how I had felt at the beginning of the pandemic.

I usually loved school, but now sitting on Zoom calls and clicking through online resources bored me. I hadn’t seen my friends in months, and my mood had changed. I was easily upset, grumpy, and downright mad at the world. For kids and teens growing up in this coronavirus era, the lack of face-to-face interaction is extremely detrimental to emotional well-being, as explained by Global News

Then in the fall, I was able to return to school for half days, and I started to feel better. I could ask for help on my schoolwork right then and there in the classroom, and I enjoyed spending time with my friends and classmates-most importantly, my brain finally found comfort in a constant pattern of school, homework, sports, and activities.

Unfortunately, due to an alarming increase of COVID-19 cases, schools and activities left and right are shutting down once again.  

But, through my experience, I have found some super helpful tips and tricks to get rid of the anxiety that comes along with learning remotely. These were great for eliminating my stress and helped me feel great about schoolwork, despite not being in the classroom. Perhaps you may find them helpful as well!

For one, I found it particularly stressful to always have to remember whenever I had mandatory Zoom meetings, or a test to take. Wherever there is something big coming up, I am sure to write it down in my planner, and check things off as I go. Agendas are your best friend, especially when it comes to keeping track of things. This can eliminate the feeling of wondering if you missed something, like an online meeting. Create a schedule for yourself, and go down the list. Trust me, it’s a lifesaver.

Speaking of lists, let’s talk about to-do lists! These are different from agendas, because to-do lists can help you stay ahead of the game and make sure you don’t turn in anything late or end up with a ton of missing assignments. At the start of every week, (or every day, depending on how many assignments you have) take out a sheet of paper and write down every single thing you need to submit. It may seem overwhelming at first, but when I started to make my way through the week and cross things off, all of my nervousness faded away, and by the end of the week, I was able to see just how much I had accomplished. 

Finally, even though I’ve mentioned that the weather is getting colder (Chicago winters, anyone?) a crucial part of surviving through a pandemic is to do good for your body, and your mind. This means getting outside- walking your dog, going for a run, and taking time to reflect. Is your brain exhausted? Take a nap, or a bubble bath! Bored? Read a book, play a game, do yoga, or bake bread. The point is, don’t let school and the gloominess of a pandemic consume you. Take care of yourself and listen to your body. 

I really hope that these tips and tricks are beneficial, and help get you through these extremely difficult times- they sure helped me. Remember, everyone is in the same boat and everything is temporary. Take it one day at a time. 

Peace.

-Brynne


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