Column: Claire’s Corner

It is difficult to stay focused in Zoom University

I started writing this article the day it was due, well after when I was supposed to turn it in. It was not that I found it boring or because I procrastinated too long, it’s because I was too burnt out from life to get it started.

From what I can tell, everyone is starting to feel the effects of Zoom University and how difficult it can be to stay productive and focused when we’re in a pandemic. Students other than myself (though I am included) are having trouble turning in assignments on time, and teachers are getting tired of seemingly endless emails and grading. This exhaustion is a major part of burnout.

Burnout is a bit more complicated than just being stressed out, but stress is a major cause. According to “Psychology Today,” mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion plus a lot of long term stress can cause burnout. It’s almost like being in a global pandemic socially isolated from everyone but your immediate family while trying to juggle high school, especially with the end of the semester approaching, is not good for your mental health.

Burnout is a lot like short term depression, with chronic fatigue, a feeling of emptiness or constant pressure, an inability to focus, forgetfulness, and of course, procrastination and missing deadlines.

Now how do we fix this? It’s not an easy question to answer, especially considering that we can’t change a lot of the factors. You can’t just not do the work, as appealing as it sounds. You can’t quit high school, and you can’t just pretend the pandemic is not happening. So what can you do?

Take care of yourself, first and foremost. “Psychology Today” recommends taking a minute to remind yourself, or remind a friend, to eat something and drink something. It doesn’t have to be healthy. Change your location, even if it’s just moving to another room for a few minutes. After finishing classes, change your outfit or take a shower to reinforce a boundary between “school” and “home.”

You can try doing one of these, or you can try doing all of these. Every little bit can help. When you’re running on empty, even just a splash of fuel can make a whole lot of difference. It doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be there.