Courtesy of Eryn Gandotra
For many SCHS students, 2020 had its share of chaos and stress. Some, however, managed to survive the year through activities that granted hope during troubling times.
Many students started projects to accommodate their new virtual atmospheres while others continued activities from their past, and some started fresh with new ideas, all to cope with the eventful year of 2020. Most students said they learned a valuable lesson about themselves and the world around them in doing their activities.
Junior Alison Von Raesfeld said she started a new school-related Zoom project for the future.
“My plan for this Zoom project is to help students study and get ahead or caught up in school,” Von Raesfeld said. “I was struggling a lot and I always felt like there was no one out there to truly help me, so I wanted to change that and not let others experience what I did. This lesson has really helped me understand my full potential on what I can do if I just put my mind to it.”
While some created projects in 2020, others, like sophomore Maria Perry, rediscovered old hobbies from the past to entertain them.
“For me, it (what helped me get through 2020) was going biking while listening to music, so it helped me clear my head, and also, I would watch some of my favorite Youtubers,” Perry said.
Perry said biking provided an environment she enjoyed that also separated her from her screen.
“I started bike riding again because it was something I loved to do, and so I’m not just on the internet for hours,” she said.
Another student, sophomore Marcus Daroczi, said advancing his skills in skateboarding helped him endure 2020’s hardships.
“Skating was really fun,” Daroczi said. “You kind of forget that the world is in the middle of a pandemic.”
Sophomore Eryn Gandotra said she accomplished several acts throughout 2020 – including going on personal outings, being involved in school clubs and learning more about herself – that made an impact on herself and her mental health.
“I went out in nature more, and I discovered going outside and going on walks more, and it was right in front of me the whole time,” Gandotra said. “I got into the Key Club board, and it brought me closer to so many upperclassmen and even underclassmen and it was just an amazing opportunity to be a part of that.”
Gandotra said learning to express her emotions also helped her survive 2020.
“I got through 2020 by crying and feeling scared and incredibly alone. I got here by missing family, friends, everybody,” Gandotra said. “But I also got here because of days filled with pure happiness and joy.”
Many students said that despite the often painful year, 2020 allowed them to discover their self-care needs and what grants them joy in the world.
“I learned that I need to take better care of myself and that I feel most calm when I do stuff that’s not online,” Perry said.
Similar to Perry, Gandotra also learned more about herself and was able to make positive changes to her lifestyle and routine.
“I got here by changing my mindset and working hard on myself,” Gandotra said. “I used to care so much about other people and I used to put everyone above myself, and as great as that is, I think at some point, you really have to let your guard down and understand that it’s okay to rest and it’s okay to take care of yourself, and I think that’s one of the most important things that I have learned.”
Students soon realized they weren’t alone. Perry felt that their activity allowed them to realize more people were in their position too.
“It (watching her favorite Youtubers) reminded me that everyone, for the most part, is in the same boat,” Perry said.
The same realization helped Gandotra get through 2020.
“I guess knowing that I am not alone and there are millions of people out there going through the same exact thing kind of helped me through everything and brought me peace and brought me certainty,” Gandotra said. “This isn’t going to last forever. Things are going to get better. This is just temporary.”
Many students said that they proved, despite 2020’s obstacles, that they overcame the year and grew into themselves.
“This time really allowed me to gather everything I needed to know about myself. It allowed me to be who I am today,” Gandotra said. “It really taught me to put myself first and not be ashamed that I am putting myself first. I think that working on yourself and working on your mental health is really, really important.”