Last spring, my schedule consisted of: doing online school for about four hours, homework for another one, going on a walk and ending the day watching yet another movie with my family. Beyond that, the only stress weighing on my mind was if I should bake banana bread or cloud bread.
Nowadays my schedule consists of: going to school for seven hours, booking it to golf for another two, then clocking into work until about 11 and finally ending the night at an ungodly hour doing homework. Add on the stress of extracurriculars, applying to colleges and studying for standardized tests — there are simply not enough hours in the day.
I’m positive I am not alone in this drastic lifestyle change, and I’m also not alone when I say my current schedule is nothing short of utterly exhausting. The other day I was sitting in class, telling my friend about how I seem to always be on the verge of tears, and heard a resounding “me too!” from about half the class.
Now, I don’t think all of us are necessarily sad, just overwhelmed with the sheer amount of things going on (and maybe a bit sleep deprived). Maybe we didn’t grasp that one math concept quite well enough before the test. Or we didn’t play as well as we’d hoped in our game. Or maybe we couldn’t remember how exactly to conjugate the preterite in Spanish in the middle of the test (all hypothetical, of course…).
Though we were mostly in person last year, I think it’s safe to say, nobody was expecting any of us to achieve at the highest caliber constantly . As things get closer and closer to normalcy though, expectations — from ourselves and those around us — gradually rise as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I have the opportunity to have a semi-normal senior year: I get to see my whole grade every day, attend sporting events and actually eat in the commons. It’s just a bit too much, a bit too fast.
Naturally, we want to compare our pre-pandemic selves to where we are now, whether that be in a social, academic or athletic context. However, I think everyone needs to take a step back and realize our lives were literally on pause for over a year; our brains and bodies got used to the ease of at home school, work etc. We weren’t constantly bombarded by assignment upon assignment.
This sounds like I’m just saying we can forgive ourselves for wanting to be lazy. And in a way, that’s exactly what I’m saying. It’s like if an athlete took 22 months off of training, and expected to be in the same shape they were. Except it’s not our bodies that need help getting back in shape, it’s our brains. We just need to be kind to ourselves until they can relearn how to cope with the new OLD lifestyle.