Juniors need a break too

Lolera Tesema, Opinions Editor

What a year it’s been. Many of us spent our first year of high school glued to a screen. I can still recall the tiresome feeling of getting up at 9 a.m. every day, opening my laptop, clicking “Join meeting,” and repeat. Now, this year, too, has come to an end. Just like that! It happened so rapidly, but it was still so draining.

Until now, many students had never actually experienced high school. We didn’t have time to acclimatize as the year was going by so quickly. Not only did we miss out on the opportunity to understand the reality of high school, but we lacked an understanding of how it would influence who we are. All of a sudden, our concerns about universities, uncertainties about the future, decisions about who we want to be—all these questions are being shoved into our faces. We barely have time to pause, breathe, and think about what we genuinely want. 

Academics are typically placed over personal concerns, especially by students and mentors. Self-care is essential for one’s mental and emotional well-being, yet we’re becoming so overwhelmed with this stress that we forget to live in the present and take a step back. It’s tremendously demanding and exhausting to adjust to new habits so rapidly that we have no time to catch up. 

We’ve only recently emerged from a nearly two-year quarantine, during which we’ve been preoccupied by the coronavirus and the damage it has done. The pandemic has created unprecedented mental challenges, and many of us don’t have someone asking us how we’re doing. We’re told that it’s something we’ll have to move on from, yet we’re still just kids learning how to deal with life. We still require those mental health check-ins, breaks, and care, all of which are lacking in our school.

We don’t need more emails, talks, or discussions on the decisions that will influence our 25-year-old selves. We’re tired, we’re drained, we’re burnt out, and we’re done with it. What we need is time and energy. Is it really that hard to provide? Our school’s community should build upon efforts to check in with students. For example, providing times for counselors to speak with us, or setting aside activity days for students to take a break from their workload. Jackson-Reed should strongly take this into consideration to safeguard their students and community for the upcoming year.