Q&A: Coping with the Pandemic

Illustration+by+Edan+Zinn+%2723.

Edan Zinn

Illustration by Edan Zinn ’23.

Natalie Kozhemiakin

In the midst of a global pandemic, students around the world are adapting to new precautions and guidelines to interact with others.

Grace Kandiah ‘23 shares her experience on coping with the “new normal” and continuing to learn in a different environment. 

How are you coping with the effects of the pandemic?

It tends to be a bit of a day-to-day thing for me. Most days I’m fine and just amble along through school and life, but some days the realization of how much things have changed and how “not normal” things are can hit me hard.

Grace Kandiah ‘23.

How do you feel about the return to school? What do you believe was handled well and what could have gone better?

I am really glad to be back at school. I spent the first few weeks mainly learning concurrently. For the most part, I think the School has done a good job with the academic side of concurrent learning. Honestly, I didn’t really feel like not being in person was causing me to fall behind. The social aspect of it all was pretty different though; there were usually maybe four kids on Zoom, tops, for each class. Even when it came to the kids on Zoom, you didn’t get to interact with each other very much. Overall, I think Brimmer has done a very good job with all the safety precautions.

I think School has handled the academics very well, but I think in many cases including, here, we are underestimating how the pandemic is messing with kids on a mental and emotional level. Things seem to have become “business as usual,” which really doesn’t reflect how much of an impact this is all having on the mental wellbeing of the students. One of the problems is that we are treating all the students the same when the pandemic really isn’t affecting all of us in the same way. 

Have the new precautions such as masks, social distancing, and a hybrid schedule affected your classes. If so, in what way?

When I’m in School I don’t feel super affected by the precautions, though wearing a mask does make me pretty tired by the end of the day.

Being in class used to be about learning but also include all of the little interactions, the facial expressions, the occasional side convos, or even just leaning over asking a question to one of my friends about something I’m confused on. With social distancing and masks, a lot of that has been taken away—removing the fun, human parts of it all.

How has COVID-19 affected school outside of a classroom? Have you found it difficult to socialize with others at lunch while still having to maintain a six-foot distance and wear masks?

Lunch is probably one of my favorite times of the day, because I can essentially spend the whole time socializing with my friends. The only downside is that it can sometimes be hard to hear people.

Do you enjoy having a hybrid schedule or would you prefer to be fully in-person/fully remote?

I prefer having a hybrid schedule. It gives more options and although I wouldn’t say I love remote learning, it is much more pleasant when the entire class is on Zoom, compared to just being one of maybe four kids that are online instead of in the classroom. So, with hybrid not only do I get time with my friends in school, but when we all have to be on Zoom it feels a lot less lonely.

Lastly, do you have any advice for others on learning how to adapt to life in a pandemic / how to cope with it?

As someone who thrives with a routine and kind of flounders without one, I would suggest to anyone else who also likes structure to plan their day out. Not just the time you’re in School but outside as well, having a set time for homework, as well as fun things like working out has been a huge help to me.