Mentally Motivated

student shares how she improved mental health amid pandemic, hybrid learning

Mentally Motivated

Brynn Friesen and Kaitlin Green

Some students have seen an increase in their mental health since the start of quarantine.  Junior Reagan Nowak believes that the atmosphere of being back in school has helped her maintain a positive mindset.

“Since the start of hybrid, my mental health has gotten better,” Nowak said. “I’d say [it’s] because I get to see all my teachers and people that are my age and in my classes. I get to do hands-on learning and work in my classes instead of [learning] just at home, getting distracted by things.”

For Nowak, the hybrid system has a more positive impact on her mental health compared to the online school that students experienced during the lockdown.

“My mentality about school went downhill,” Nowak said. “I lost a lot of motivation knowing that I didn’t have to do the work.”

Despite the difficulties COVID-19 brought to students, Nowak utilized her free time in quarantine by discovering what she can do to keep a positive mentality.

“I [started] journaling,” Nowak said. “I’ll still write stuff down to this day. It relaxes me when I’m writing down my feelings and I don’t have to share them with anyone. It’s just my personal journal, it’s just for me, and it’s just my thoughts. Nobody’s judging me.”

To Nowak, journaling isn’t the only way to boost mental health, especially during this time. She also believes that conversing with a friend can greatly affect a person’s health.

“Don’t forget to check up on your friends,” Nowak said. “A lot of people forget that and I feel like it’s not as normalized as it should be. Just [try to] make their day because you never know what your friends are going through.”

Although she advocates for the hybrid schooling system, Nowak recognizes the issues that accompany it. 

“During hybrid and this weird period of time where we have to wear masks, everyone’s mental health is going down the drain,” Nowak said.

As the school year continues, Nowak urges students to have the discussion of mental health with others as well as use the in-person atmosphere to their advantage and speak up in classes.

“Don’t be scared to talk to your teachers or open up to [them],” Nowak said. “If you’re stressed or if they’re giving you too much, just talk to them. They really do mean to help you and if you talk, they will.”

Through all of the vigorous struggles she and many others have faced under lockdown and during the hybrid process, Nowak has been able to weed out some of the negativity with the help of loved ones.

“I’ve had a lot of people in my life that have [told me] it’s ok to have mental struggles,” Nowak said. “It’s okay to have problems in your life, and it’s okay to share them with people.”