• The Mentorship Spot

Post-COVID Reflection: Entering Grade 12

By: Bhavya Trivedi


This article is part of a series of reflections by our team on their experiences during the pandemic. Bhavya Trivedi, General Exec of The Mentorship Spot, will chronicle his journey of undergoing high school through a pandemic. He is currently entering Grade 12 at St. Francis Xavier Secondary School


Academics

Effects of the pandemic came during my freshman year right as I was adapting to the new lifestyle of work and responsibilities. My study habits took a hit as I was removed from any type of workload for months, and returning was quite difficult. Months later, I saw a positive benefit as the time spent on other activities that would normally be distractions started to become repetitive or I grew out of in my free time. I found myself more focused throughout my studying this past school year.


The learning experience is something I will always wish I could have had more, as I was flowing into the new dynamic that was high school with so many new aspects now available, so to have all that taken is something I won’t get to experience again. The online learning and quadmester modules made the courses feel more rushed. I felt that I had less time to digest the learning before it was time to move ahead to the next topic. In addition, being online gave me more ability to get distracted or not pay attention, and I found myself not always being mentally present or zoning off. I was able to learn many breakfast recipes as I cooked them during first period so that was an upside.


EC’s

I felt that finding opportunities was difficult. Even with many extracurricular activities using social media marketing more to promote their platform, many places were not accepting new members or had it restricted to those who were already present. All organizations and clubs were not able to seamlessly switch to online methods to continue their initiatives and so many places were not providing opportunities to get involved.


I found myself using social media such as Instagram to find opportunities, and looking outside school clubs that did not all resume as school went online. I changed my expectations and just started searching for platforms similar to those that interested me, even if they looked out of reach or more advanced. This is what brought me to The Mentorship Spot and other programs. I was initially hesitant to apply to places that felt out of reach or not something that fit my skill set entirely, but those filters needed to be dropped. I applied to TMS as one of the younger members, and now am a part of the exec team as the only high school student. It gave me more insight into the world of university and encouraged me to participate in more places and provided more experience outside of what I thought was possible at my position.


I was not quite enthusiastic about extracurriculars being more online as it was often a way to be removed from the repetitive school environment and network with new people and get to connect with others, so that also becoming remote took away from the social aspect that came with joining these opportunities.


Mental & Overall health

When school resumed back and went online, the health slowly began to fall off, as I found myself in front of a screen for the majority of the day during the 6 hours of classes, and then completing tasks. It limited my ability to go outdoors as much; my physical health took a hit and mental health got slightly worse as it was not a sustainable lifestyle but I had to get the work done. Many students including myself were drained from the new module that pushed more technology and less social interaction.


I believe the earlier times of the pandemic was when I had some of my best memories as it forced me and others to be more active outside of the house and I took interest in things like walking, cycling and playing sports with my neighborhood friends. It was refreshing to not have a workload burden and being primarily outdoors kept me physically and mentally fit. As work came back, I used more of my free time on being active by going on more nature walks and trying to be further away from the work environment and my desk as I could be. I used the abundance of music that was released in the pandemic to keep me busy as I was listening to multiple old and new albums a day which made for a good distraction from the negatives.


Social Circles

My surroundings took big hits during lockdown, as I was always a very social kid and thrived in environments where I could express myself through speaking and interacting. With everything closed off, I did not see many friends for months or even over a year. I did not take the transition to social media entertainment that well and found myself removed from social media communication. It was impossible to make new friends as people were legally not allowed to have gatherings and my main company were my neighborhood friends.


My approach to meeting new people changed as things slowly began to open up. I found that a break from social media restored the missing energy and I used opportunities to go out more and in places different from what I was used to. Things such as local parks and summer school were ways I made new friendships and connections. I believe the lack of interaction made most people such as myself more open to communicating with new people.


Highschool life completely altered itself to nothing comparable. Being fed media such as books and movies that portrayed high school as this new domain full of opportunity had me excited to the max. I remember the first few months before the pandemic went just as imagined and I was finding myself enjoying everyday meeting new people, connecting with old friends and having fun. After about a year and a half of being removed from that environment of hallway conversations, and class time interactions, I found comfort with what I had built till then and so did many. Once things resumed I was not the same overly social individual that I was before. Part of it was the workload growing and more expected from me to perform well, but putting myself out there did not feel as important as it once did in junior year although it’s never too late to and I found myself speaking out more in the second half of the year. I do think the pandemic altered the social component the most as it changed my tone and approach towards building connections with others.


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