Early college students and high school seniors may
be facing the most disruption in the COVID-altered academic landscape.
This school year was not what they were eagerly anticipating. Worse, for
many the pandemic has not only upended their current learning
environment, it’s creating havoc with their future.
Recent research among a diverse group of high school seniors has
turned up some alarming statistics. Nearly a third (32 percent) of
students responding to a Global Strategy Group online survey said they
are less likely to enroll in college. And of those who are planning to
head to a college campus, just 39 percent feel that their online
learning experience has given them a strong foundation for success.
(Students already in college said they are more confident about their
preparation in remote classes.)
It’s not just academics that are eroding confidence and adding to the
stress. Students are missing out on milestones like presenting research
at science fairs and excelling in championship sports meets that can
give them an edge in competing for college slots. Not to mention the
life-altering events not so academic, like proms, plays, and concerts.
If that sounds like your life, know that you can get past this. Sure,
this whole school year — and a big part of last year — has been
strange, stressful, and not at all what you expected. But this won’t
last forever. Besides staying healthy, here are some things you can do
now to stay strong.
Practice adaptability. This is real life, and life
comes with change — some good and some not so good. Successful people
know how to be flexible and adapt. Cultivating that skill now will serve
you well for years to come. For more on this, check out “Cultivating
Indigenous Resilience” on page 4.
Stay connected at school. Limit how much you might
be shortchanged academically by proactively enriching your classwork and
sourcing answers to your questions. Reach out to teachers and consider
augmenting what you are learning with a free online course. And stay
connected socially. Counter isolation by safely hanging out with
friends. Also, don’t skip meetings of school-based clubs and
organizations just because you can’t be there in person. If you have a
virtual AISES chapter gathering, show up for the camaraderie as well as
good advice and networking.
Be proud of your achievements. You are doing
something difficult — you have learned to manage your time and digest
online content. And you’ve done it in spite of few role models for
succeeding at an online education. Honor what you’ve accomplished.