Guidance counselors: We’re still there for you

Olivia Blackwell, Staff Writer

While guidance counselor Hannah Smith started a “Wildcat Wellness” group for students to de-stress earlier this school year, Smith wants students to know that they can still reach out to her despite being away from school due to the pandemic.

“[Students] can email their counselors or they can just email me, and I can direct them to where they can go,” Smith said. “I want others to know that we’re still here as a team to help.”

Smith cited several places where students can go and look at to help them manage their feelings.

“Resources have been pouring in as everyone has been adjusting to this new way of living and working,” Smith said.

Those resources include the Stanford Graduate College of Education, which has outlined some great things for educators and COVID-19’s impact on its website:

“The National Association for College Admissions Counseling has put together some resources for incoming and future college students that is related to COVID-19’s impact” Smith said. “I have been told about a great app by the Veterans Association called “Covid Coach” that is free for iPhone users and helps negate some of the stress that we’re all feeling during this time.”

Smith has even created a top five list of coping strategies that students can follow. Students should create a workspace, schedule their time, stay motivated, deal with their emotions and stay connected.

“Workspace is very important,” Smith said.  “If you struggle with productivity and/or distractions you have to get a space that you only associate with doing work. Schedule your days out so that you can choose when to do your work when you know you can be most productive.”

Mackenzie Jerdon (11) said she has adjusted to the new normal of learning at home.

“For the most part I have really enjoyed distance learning,” Jerdon said.  “I find it easier for me to manage my time in a way that is efficient.  “In the beginning it was a difficult adjustment, but now that we’ve been doing it for a couple of months, I’ve gotten used to it and I actually prefer it over going to school on campus.”

Jerdon said she does miss the everyday interactions with friends.

“To stay connected, my friends and I have been using FaceTime every weekend and watching movies together,” Jerdon said. “We use Netflix Party which allows us to all watch the same movie but on separate devices. The only difficult part has been trying to coordinate a time that we can all do it.  When we were at school, we all followed the same schedule but now that we are distance learning we’ve all developed our own daily routines and it’s difficult trying to find a time that we can all just hangout.”

Smith wants students to know that mindset is everything during a difficult time.

“Learning resiliency skills to face life’s challenges with a positive mindset and good thoughts is what is going to get you through this and get you through life,” Smith said. “We cannot choose what happens to us, or around us sometimes, but we can choose how we respond to it.”