Return to School Routines is Big Adjustment, Leads to Students’ Mental Health Concerns

Photo by Amelia Rozomiak.

With the return to school in September, many WCI students are finding that adjusting to a new school routine after so much time away is negatively impacting their mental health. 

When asked what the most difficult change to her routine has been, Grade 12 student Emma G. said, “Keeping track of my work and staying motivated in the fast paced environment and personally making more time to exercise.”

Back in March, when school, sports, and other extracurriculars were cancelled because of COVID-19, students were left to figure out how to spend their days. Many students’ routines included sleeping in, online chatting with friends, and a variety of other activities including video games, working out, baking, going outside, watching movies, and spending time on social media.

Now that students are back in school, “The time spent on technology is way higher because of Google Classroom and digital assignments” is what Nadia K., also a Grade 12 student at WCI, finds challenging.

People used the time between March and August to improve their mental health, since they had so much time to try new activities and do things they enjoy that they wouldn’t normally have time to do. Some ways people did this was by meditating, journaling, and overall just making sure that they were making time for themselves.  

Adriana C. said, “The accelerated learning environment [while being back in school] is putting more stress on me especially in grade 12” when she was asked what has been the most difficult change in her lifestyle. 

In an informal poll on a personal Instagram account, 72 high school students, most of whom are from WCI, said they found it difficult to return to school after six months of staying at home. 

Not only was it a longer time away from school than they had ever experienced, but students at WCI were returning to a completely new school system with different cohorts, quadmesters instead of semesters, and a mix between online and in class learning. 

The overall return to school brings a new change in routine for students: waking up early, balancing work and school, and making time outside of class to do homework. All the new changes make daily routines more complicated, like remembering which classes are on/offline, and the overall inconsistency of a routine that changes every few days. 

Even though it has only been a couple months, it is clear and concerning for most that the changes to this new school routine have been causing negative effects to the well being of students at WCI.