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    • "Pandemic school" affected Hopkins students in a variety of ways.

At-Home Learning Causes Stress for Hopkins Students

Evie Doolittle '23 News Editor
With virtual school and limited in-person socializing, students' stress was heightened during the pandemic.
School Psychologist Joshua Brant explains that there are many symptoms of stress such as, “muscle tension, low energy, sleep difficulties, digestive problems, headaches, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, feeling anxious, depressed, and generally, overwhelmed.”

Since switching to online school last spring, some students experienced these symptoms. Arielle Rieder ’23 details, “Stress impacts me by being a detriment to my sleep schedule and making me feel more tired.”

The hybrid and virtual learning models Hopkins implemented from the start of the pandemic until April 5 introduced new and unfamiliar modes of teaching and learning. Brant describes how virtual learning can contribute to some students’ stress: "Human beings are wired to take the path of least resistance. So, any time things change our normal routine, there will be stress.”

Director of Academic Support Matthew Treat worked with students who found online learning challenging: “For a number of students, a weak internet connection created challenging moments to participate and learn. As a result of having these difficulties during class, students' stress and anxiety increased.” Throughout the pandemic, the Academic Support Program (ASP) met with students to help them manage their stress: “The Academic Support Program has been meeting with students all year. Almost all of our sessions through April have been virtual meetings with students. Many of our teachers/tutors met with students once or twice a week,” says Treat. He believes that, “many of the students in ASP found connecting with a tutor during the pandemic to be helpful when they were at home.” He elaborates, “The check-in and guidance our tutors provided really made a difference to our student's confidence in the classroom. Our tutors provided study skill support like planning, organization, time management, and assessment preparation. In addition...our tutors also worked with students on content in a particular class.”

For some students, however, virtual learning decreased their stress. Marco Buschauer ’23 explains, “While attending school in person, there tends to be much more stress in terms of schoolwork and tests as there is a lot less free time.” Rieder agrees, “Online school has decreased my stress level since I have a lot more time to get stuff done.” However, Ross Vine '23 describes his experience with Zoom fatigue, “In the beginning, it was manageable, but as time went on it be- came more difficult to focus during class.”

School Counselor Linda Romanchok explains that the limited in-person socializing during the pandemic caused anxiety for certain students: “Not being around classmates at school or participating on sports teams has made social engagement more challenging, which has created a good amount of stress for some of our students as well. We are hopeful that having the majority of students back on campus will help to alleviate stress levels.”

To combat the negative side effects of stress, Romanchok recommends students “maintain good mental and physical health through a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep.” She explains that calming down through, “stretching, breathing, creative visualization, mindfulness, reframing failure, listening to music/dancing, parking worries, helpful self-talk, counting to ten” can also improve mental health. Romanchok concludes, “Simply seeing problems as ‘things that can be solved’ can help to reduce our stress.”
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Zach Williamson

Managing Editor 
Anjali Subramanian

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Evie Doolittle
Amir McFerren
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The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
     
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