Just a few weeks ago, I sat in school. I went to my classes. I ate lunch. I talked to friends and teachers.

Now, things have changed. As the COVID-19 epidemic has become the foremost international issue, schools have closed and immediate arrangements had to be made. With this shutdown came a question for administrators: how can we ensure students are still learning while they remain at home?
The answer for most schools came in an online application called Zoom, which allows for teleconferencing, in addition to several other tools useful for education (like screen sharing, annotating, etc.)

This change has been a sudden one. Me and many of my classmates are not yet used to the new reality that has been thrown so hastily upon us. Our schedules have changed, and the social aspect of high school is now lacking. To make up for this, me and some friends ate lunch over Zoom a few days ago. Just catching up made things a bit better. In terms of education, Zoom is certainly a double-edged sword: it’s extremely easy to become distracted, yet teachers are still able to educate in ways they had not known before.

The many hours me and my classmates now spend in our houses presents its own challenges. There are only so many board games and Netflix shows to watch, but I think students are good at adapting to challenges. In the next few days and weeks, I am sure everyone will find something they are interested in or have been pushing off a while and will finally reach some type of goal.

As the world remains in a state never known previously, I think it’s important that we maintain our relationships; friends, family, teachers, everyone! We should reach out whether over WhatsApp, Zoom, FaceTime, or so many other mediums. Now is the time to make sure everyone is doing OK. Furthermore, we are in desperate need of unity. Now is a time where everyone seems to be fighting for themselves only, and its important to know that I know the world seems like a bad place right now.

I know that things are changing, and many of us are having trouble with these changes. But now is a time where we all must band together and try to do whatever we can to make the world better- even if that means just calling a friend.

So to help you get through this coronaction and have the quaran-time of your life, here are some suggestions:

Keep things organized

Your brain is probably overloaded from what’s going on right now (at least mine is). I’m always getting news notifications, and they tend to stress me out. So while your mind might be feeling disorganized from the clutter that is today’s world, take some time to keep organized what you can. I write down all my assignments for the week/month in a planner, and it’s really helpful knowing my due dates for all my work. It’s difficult to forget something if you’ve written it down, so this is a good way to make sure you’re staying on top of your work. Plus it feels amazing crossing out an assignment when you’re done with it.

Keep things clean

I know this sounds similar to the first suggestion, but I’m talking about your physical space. Just making your bed every morning and putting some clothes away has helped me maintain some sanity. And it’s nice seeing my floor every so often.

Reach out to a friend

We live in a time of so many ways to interact with each other. Call your friend and see how they’re doing. Email a favorite teacher and say you miss their class. Have lunch with your friends on FaceTime or Zoom. There are so many ways you can communicate, so while we cannot see each other physically, we can make up for it digitally.

Go for a walk

I get it. It’s really tempting to stay in your room all day. But it’s important to get some sun and air and clear your mind a bit.

Find a new hobby

Do a puzzle, read a book, learn to code, the list could go on and on. If you have some extra free time, try to do something you enjoy. It’s very therapeutic to just focus on one thing you like doing and temporarily block out what’s going on.

Lastly, I know this is a very difficult time for anyone with a mental health disorder. As someone with anxiety, this pandemic is definitely not the best for anyone’s mental health, and can be pretty terrifying. Reach out to a friend, parent, counselor, or anyone you know and trust and hopefully soon, this will all be over and we can resume our lives.

Stay safe, happy, and healthy!

Author: Max Miller, Senior at Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Skokie, IL

The team at Erika’s Lighthouse knows how challenging and difficult this transition is on our teens, educators, parents and others. We are here to help and support our young people. We have launched an exciting new campaign that will provide meaningful, practical resources for teens, educators and parents.