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Losing my focus

With the pandemic and the prospect of college next year diverting her attention, this high school senior’s lost her way.

Our elder offers a plan for getting back on track.

Dear EWC:

Hello! I am in my senior year of high school, and I have been having trouble staying on task. Considering I have been applying to colleges, I have found myself focusing less and less on my senior year.

With classes, I am usually an A/B student, and have kept my grades up all of my life, yet this year I find it so much harder to push myself to do my assignments. I find myself procrastinating till the very last minute, or just not doing the assignment until my teacher tells me I have too. Other than academics, with the pandemic, I have found it challenging to live up my senior year, while being safe of course. Since I can’t have the full experience, I keep canceling everything else. I can’t push myself to join clubs or volunteer, and I think it’s due to the lack of my full senior year experience.

In conclusion, I wanted to ask for advice on staying on track with school, while also making the most out of my senior year.

Cairnie replies:

I completely understand how hard it can be to stay motivated right now – in your senior year, in a pandemic, when you are thinking about college and not high school. At the same time, though, you don’t want to sacrifice all of your hard work since kindergarten that made you an A/B student (congrats, btw!).

You are right, too, about wanting to stay on track with school and staying motivated. Of course it is sad not to have a senior year you expected. I get that. And yet it presents you with an opportunity to learn to “pivot.” What I mean by that is being flexible. There are times throughout our lives where our expectations aren’t met and we are disappointed. Absolutely feel those feelings, look at what led to those feelings (insight) and then decide what to do about it.

Follow your instincts about joining a club, volunteering, and getting outside of your own head – by meeting others, helping others, and working with others. Decide to recreate your senior year experience as one of getting the best grades you can and serving your community and fellow students. When so many others are struggling, what a wonderful opportunity for you to find grace and use your privilege (time, money, skills, willingness to help) to make a difference in other people’s lives.

Being away from the people and experiences that bring us joy and remind us who we are inside is difficult. Almost everyone is struggling right now. I applaud you for taking the first step to break your cycle of sadness by reaching out.

So decide what you want to accomplish by graduation, by month before then, by week, and by day. See if any friends or family member wants to join your volunteer effort (it’s often more fun and more motivating when you serve with others). Pick a time, a task and make a plan to get started. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Have fun, study hard, and college will be here before you know it. And likely in person, too!

School
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