Ask Elle: Fighting to cross the finish line

Elle gives advice to a student struggling to learn digitally

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Elle is MCHS's advice columnist. Email her at [email protected]

Elle Smith, Staff Writer

Dear Elle: At first, being out of school because of coronavirus seemed sort of like a long snow day or an extended spring break. During our first week off, I think I only did two or three assignments total for all my classes. I didn’t expect to be out of school for a month. Now, all the missing assignments have piled up and my counselor has been calling home. Between catching up with my own work, helping my sister with her work, and helping to keep my depressed mom emotionally balanced, I feel overwhelmed. At this point, I think it’s too late to finish my senior year strong—or at all. I never thought I’d be the kind of kid who didn’t finish high school. What do I do?

Sincerely, Lockdown Breakdown

DEAR LOCKDOWN BREAKDOWN: 

Dear Elle: At first, being out of school because of coronavirus seemed sort of like a long snow day or an extended spring break. During our first week off, I think I only did two or three assignments total for all my classes. I didn’t expect to be out of school for a month. Now, all the missing assignments have piled up and my counselor has been calling home. Between catching up with my own work, helping my sister with her work, and helping to keep my depressed mom emotionally balanced, I feel overwhelmed. At this point, I think it’s too late to finish my senior year strong—or at all. I never thought I’d be the kind of kid who didn’t finish high school. What do I do?

Lockdown Breakdown

Dear Lockdown: Well, right off the bat, I want to say that I’m proud of you, and you should be proud of yourself too. It’s not easy making so many adjustments to your life in such a short time. 

Online classes struck MCHS like lightning, and some of us got stuck. We hit a bump in the road and, in mere days, the assignments piled up to the point where it feels mountainous. So what can we do?

My advice to you: Start today. First, reach out to your teachers and let them know what’s going on. Explain your situation, and ask where they think you should start. Most likely, they’ll send you a list of the most important assignments that you should focus on first, and then tell you what to do once you’ve conquered those. Write lists, and cross things of as you go.

Also, wake up early. We all know what quarantine has done to our sleep schedules!

Isolation can also make an already difficult or painful family situation worse because you are all stuck in the house together. Everyone’s stress and loneliness is slowly rising as we have been restricted from doing the things we are used to, and seeing the people (outside our family) who make us happy. Remember that it is also important to have “me time” where you take some time by yourself to do something you enjoy, maybe call a friend, go for a walk, and so on. 

Lastly, I want to acknowledge that in some ways, it must really stink to be a senior right now. There’s really no denying it, seniors are upset because they have been robbed of the things that make senior year the most fun, like prom, sports, and graduation. My only advice to you there is, remember that eventually the lockdown will end, and you will do whatever makes you happy again. 


Need advice on school, work, love, life, or anything else that’s weighing you down? Email Elle at [email protected], and she may respond to your letter in the online or print edition of The McHenry Messenger.