Post-COVID Reflection: Entering Grade 10
By: Sai Venkat
This article is part of a series of reflections by our team on their experiences during the pandemic. Sai Venkat, Content Ambassador of The Mentorship Spot, will chronicle his journey of undergoing high school through a pandemic. He is currently entering Grade 10 at Woodlands Secondary School.
How did the pandemic change your study habits? The pandemic changed my study habits in a significant way. During my years in middle school, I was a quite focused and organized student when it came to studying and learning. After all, attending school in person requires you to be actively involved in activities and with people around you. Covid changed that completely, as there was no ‘requirement’ to be prepared and ready for the school day. The energy I put in daily to be on the same level as my peers was no longer needed. This affected my study habits significantly, as there was no longer that ‘competition’ or ‘hunger’ with my peers, meaning I didn’t prepare for tests/exams properly, paid less attention during class, and started procrastinating.
How did the pandemic affect your learning experience? The pandemic changed my learning experiences in notable ways. During my schooling before covid, I would be able to sit through an hour of class without really feeling distracted or mentally tired. However, as online learning became the norm, I started feeling more lethargic during class. There were several moments when I dozed off, out of boredom and apathy. Without any teacher actively watching whether I’m paying attention, resulted in me procrastinating during a lesson. Overall, my learning experiences during covid were very unpleasant, and difficult to say the very least.
Did you find that it was harder to find extracurricular/research opportunities? Finding extracurricular and research opportunities during the pandemic was very difficult. Initially, most organizations shut down temporarily due to the situation, but after things started to re-open, I found it difficult to find the right opportunities related to my interests. Over the last year, where things have started to get back to normal, the process of finding extra-curricular activities has been easier, due to the option of doing work online.
How did you change the way that you looked/applied for opportunities? Covid-19 has completely changed the way I look and apply for opportunities. Initially, most of my extra-curricular activities were related to the school I was attending. During the pandemic, this option was shut down, resulting in me using social media as the primary source of finding opportunities. While doing this, I got to learn about a variety of different activities that could be done remotely.
Did you like the increase in online extracurriculars or do you prefer interacting in-person? Why? I was not a particular fan of the influx in online activities due to the lack of interaction with people in person. I believe that talking and socializing can positively impact your overall experience with an activity, and this was very limited when done online. In addition to this, staring at a device for long periods also made the experience tiring and boring.
Mental and Overall Health
What were some ways in which your mental and physical health was affected during the pandemic? During the course of the pandemic, both my mental and physical health were impacted in significant ways. The lack of human interaction excluding my family made it a dull and wearing routine. In the early parts of the pandemic, when traveling and going to public places were not allowed, being confined to my home and my thoughts 24/7 negatively affected me. In terms of my physical health, I was used to a lifestyle where team sports were a regular thing in my life, and the pandemic changed that completely. It created a certain level of laziness and idleness which was not ideal for my physical and mental wellbeing.
How did you take care of your mental health and overall health during the pandemic? Taking care of my mental and physical health primarily happened through spending time with my family. Since we were all in the same situation, it forced us to bond and find activities as a family to solve our boredom. In addition to this, I got to also do some activities that I had previously pushed away, which helped me deal with the hours of spare time I was having indoors. In terms of my physical health, I regularly went on walks and bike rides for extended periods, which helped me deal with the lack of team sports activities I had previously done.
How did your social surroundings change during the pandemic (was it more difficult to find friends)? How did you approach meeting new people under these new circumstances? The pandemic changed my social surroundings in notable ways. Not being able to see any of my friends, go to social gatherings, and just have a lack of human interaction was a very difficult thing to comprehend. The pandemic also made it very difficult for me to make friends, as the things that united and made me the person I was were taken away from me.
How did you approach meeting new people under these new circumstances? During the pandemic, I became accustomed to virtual interactions. Through social media and messaging platforms, I was able to stay in touch with my peers. Weekly meetings were set by my teachers which allowed us to all share our thoughts during the crisis.
How did university/highschool life change for you during the pandemic? High school life was very interesting and difficult during Covid-19. In my first year of high school, I was one of very few students who did online school, meaning we had to share teachers that were teaching an in-person class. The whole experience was difficult, as there was a clear bridge between in-person and virtual learning.
The pandemic was a meaningful and life-changing period in my life. I had many positive and negative experiences, and although it was a time of my life that I would not want to re-live, there were definitely some positive and interesting experiences that I’ll carry with me forever!