Dear Discouraged Student


Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

Abigail Lin, Reporter

Are you feeling discouraged, lonely, depressed, unmotivated, and rather down in the dumps? Then this was written specially for you.


Do you remember the days we’d pass each other in the hallways, enjoy lunch in the quad, watch assemblies in Caiman Hall, and go to Friday night football games with friends? Wasn’t it kind of exciting and fun wearing a new outfit to school, having the opportunity to meet someone, receiving warm hugs from your best friends, or laughing at that hilarious joke told in class? Everyday was unpredictably new and different. Those were the good days, weren’t they? In contrast, when you picture your week now, you see yourself rolling out of bed, hiding behind a computer, and staring at the arrangement of pixels on the screen that look like your teacher, some classmates, and lots of black name tag boxes all day. Everyday seems to be the same as if we’re living in a stimulus. How many times have you forgotten what day it was? It’s been harder to remember, because it seems like we’re living the same day over and over again. All because of COVID-19.


Like many people at the beginning of the year, I was so excited for 2020, and it’s quite possible that you were too if you’re reading this. I went into this year expecting so much. It was going to be a great year — THE year. I had made so many plans. I was in the middle of developing friendships with amazing people. I was training for sports tryouts. Maybe you were also preparing to apply to jobs, start Driver’s ED, or take an incredible vacation, but all of our plans were suddenly put on the back burner where they have been left, neglected for over six months. This wasn’t supposed to happen. It’s not fair. Of all the years, why did it have to be 2020? There was so much to look forward to, and in a blink of an eye, doors began to close all around us. All our expectations have been crushed.


Out of frustration, the world lashed back blaming everything on 2020. Every month we anticipated something new and even more drastic. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard someone say, “could this year get any worse?” The media has blown up with jokes about 2020 being the end of the world; crumbled down cities, people running around with masks on, fires, hoards of toilet paper, and even alien invasions. It’s funny to see the memes online, joke around with friends, and make comments about minor inconveniences, but under this façade of lighthearted humor, the stability of our mental health has been deteriorating behind our backs. Since we have learned to become comfortable living inside this mindset of disappointment, it is getting easier to believe that the worst is going to—  or currently is—  happening. 


I’ve always had a problem with overthinking, which is a struggle that I think is quite relatable to many people, but I feel that now more than ever it’s become easier to get in my head, which scares me. It’s easier to think that our friends don’t care as much as we thought, because most of the time the only way to communicate with them is through a screen. It’s easier to get frustrated at our family for annoying us since we’re in the house with them nearly 24/7. It’s easier to get upset about technological difficulties and stress when we can’t seem to fix anything. It’s easier to get impatient with ourselves when we look at the mirror if it’s been a while since the last hardcore workout. It’s easier to feel as if our entire reputation is hanging by our romantic relationship status, our grade, or our social media profile, because at the moment, it feels like this is the only recognition from the outside world that we are receiving.


In the collection of events leading to this seemingly inevitable downward spiral, there is something that has been forgotten. There is a list of things I can tell you to remember during the times when you feel like you’re nearly buckling under unbearable pressure, but to wrap it up in a nice little bow, all I’m going to say is this: You are still in control of your thoughts, emotions, and choices. And this is a beautiful thing. Everyday we have a chance to choose how we are going to live out each day. We are free to choose the path we are walking down. We make our own reality. We can choose to stay in this cycle of cause and reaction, or we can go against the grind; we can choose to do the harder thing. It’s not going to be easy to break habits and natural reflexes, and it’s always going to be a struggle. There will be days when we fail, but that’s how we know that we’re trying. So, keep choosing patience. Keep choosing love. Keep choosing compassion. Keep choosing contentment. Keep choosing perseverance. Keep choosing to nurture and maintain loving relationships. Keep choosing to work hard in your classes. Keep making these hard yet rewarding choices, because with each of these decisions we are choosing our fate. Even when the world is standing still, we have the opportunity to move ourselves forward.