2019 Elle Arvesen mug


I hope this article is reaching you during good and happy times this season. My friends and I — and I’m sure every single student imaginable — were extremely happy to log out of Zoom, shut down our computers and enjoy winter break.

Since COVID-19 cases began spiking, I made the decision to continue distance learning and not enter a hybrid learning format where I would be learning in-person with a cohort two days a week. 

I have a strong feeling that I’ll continue distance learning for a good portion of next semester, as well. Because of this, I thought it might be beneficial to share with you some things that I learned about myself this past semester through online schooling.

Even though it's extremely tempting to stay up late since I don’t have to get dressed for "normal school" in the morning, it’s a bad habit, and one I dealt with a lot this past semester. Since I didn’t have a lot of downtime during the day, or even the afternoon or evening, I would watch shows on my computer or amuse myself with my phone late at night in order to unwind and escape my life for a little bit. This inevitably led to staying up later, then being exhausted when I had to wake up in the morning for my classes.

One thing I learned about myself during this time was that I’m not a person who can run on little to no sleep, so I’d drink my coffee in the morning, but it would soon wear off and later in the afternoon I would find myself unmotivated to do any homework since I was so exhausted.

I also think it's really important to have downtime for yourself — especially right now — to forget about responsibilities for a while and laugh at funny things, talk to friends over FaceTime, or even watch a show on Netflix. I know that many other people my age would agree with me.

In order to open up more time for those aforementioned activities, next semester I’m going to begin organizing and scheduling out my day so I have a better idea of how much time homework will take each night.

Another large area in which I struggled this past semester was handling my stress. This was something many of my classmates and I dealt with. I spoke to one of my friends who asked to remain anonymous about how she’s handled her stress this past year.

“My anxiety has peaked, and I have to take medication for it now,” she said.

Guest Commentary - Lately, I have been thinking a lot about my future. Whenever I do, there is a pit in my stomach when I consider just how much I have ahead of me. College? A career? I have no idea where I want to go to college or what I want to do with the rest of my life.

Many of my other friends and acquaintances have also confided in me on the topic of their mental health. It seems that all of us have dealt with it in different ways. Whether it be medication, deep breathing exercises, speaking to a trusted family member or some other outlet, it varies from person to person.

We all are looking forward to the new year and what it holds (hopefully, good things). I’m equal parts apprehensive and excited.

It seems that all we can do at this time is to first take care of ourselves, then face whatever school and life has to throw at us.

It's been an extremely wild year, but here’s to hoping that 2021 brings with it a little semblance of normalcy.

Elle Arvesen is the elected Lucky Clover 4-H Club reporter, a local high schooler, and SYV News Teen Life columnist.