As the one year mark approaches, students continue to adjust to pandemic

Paquin+sets+up+to+do+her+schoolwork+from+home+on+a+remote+day.

Candy Paquin

Paquin sets up to do her schoolwork from home on a remote day.

It has been almost a full year since the Weston Public Schools first shut their doors for the COVID-19 Pandemic and much has changed. For some, the initial struggles of lockdown have persisted, but for others, the pandemic has provided an opportunity for positive changes and thinking. 

“Some are coping with it better than others, as we are all individuals with unique needs and strengths. But as a whole, I think everyone of us misses seeing our people face to face, and interacting in close, personal ways,” WHS adjustment counselor Paula Gearan commented.

One of the primary issues for people of all ages has been the isolation that is inherent to the concept of social distancing. 

“One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I’m way more extroverted than I thought I was,” sophomore Carolyn Paquin explained. “I have a really hard time trying to keep up the happiness and optimism when I can’t see my friends.”

Freshman Keila Jalinous has also struggled with consequences of the pandemic, and does not find the support implemented by the school to be helpful. 

“I feel like there hasn’t been much time to care for my well being. Although advisory is an attempt to make time for self-reflection, I’ve never been really fond of it,” Jalinous expressed. 

Aside from general well-being, Gearan has also observed students struggling with course work. 

“I have observed that many students are struggling academically to connect with lessons and have struggles with feeling engaged with the work that normally would be collaborative and more tangible in person,” Gearan stated. “Face-to-face interaction builds a connection between individuals and conveys credibility.”

Despite these challenges with adjusting to the new precautions of the pandemic, some students, like senior Alton Jenkins, have found ways to cope by adjusting their mindsets.  

“I am at a place where I understand [that] I control what I can control; if there are elements of my life, whether that be other people, [or]  assignments that are being difficult or challenging me, I take the time to understand them so they don’t negatively affect my life as a whole,” Jenkins said. 

Although Jenkins has experienced initial struggle and adjusted his mindset to the pandemic changes, senior Taj Clachar believes that the pandemic has actually benefited him from the start. 

It’s honestly made my mood better. I get to do whatever I want for the most part and have been able to focus and work on myself. I and some others are thriving,” Clachar noted.“Yes, the pandemic has forced us to make drastic changes in our lives, but we have adapted and have been enjoying ourselves.”

Junior Alex Muzila has also found he has benefited from being able to form and control his own schedule.

“I’ve been able to do more extracurriculars this year than I think I normally would have because I’m able to schedule around my classes throughout the day, especially on the days when I’m at home,” Muzila explained.

While Muzila recognized these benefits, he also commented on the restricted nature of student activities overall as a result of the many changes this year.

“Some [extracurriculars] have been able to continue for the most part as usual, but the pandemic does affect a lot of people who are trying to develop themselves and their skills because they’re not able to work with other people in person,” Muzila said.

Muzila is not the only student who has experienced complications with their extracurricular activities — some haven’t been able to participate at all.

“I actually had to take less extracurriculars and after school stuff this year because I was kind of overwhelmed at the beginning of the year and I still am,” Paquin said.

Although many students have been unable to participate in their activities, students such as Jenkins have used their positive mindsets to view their modified extracurricular experiences in a new light. 

I was able to have a basketball season, and for that I was extremely grateful. It was not the complete season [the team and I] had hoped for, with preseason workouts, a holiday tournament in Florida, and fans in the stands. But I was able to play the sport I loved,” Jenkins expressed.“It brought some normalcy into my life, in a time where everything around me seemed so unsure.”