Brains are NOT Fried Chicken


The mind can be a very cluttered place, especially after the trying year students have experienced

Olivia Schelling, Staff Writer

The 2020/2021 school year has had its impact across many lives. Students have had to adapt to a “new normal,” which was challenging to some. The mental health of many students has seemingly been decreasing throughout this hard time. This is due to the feelings of mental burnout from virtual learning and all of the changes that have been made. 


Mental burnout can be caused by stress, overload, and drastic changes in everyday life. Students this year have not only had to adapt to a new learning environment, but deal with the struggles to find motivation and to push past the feelings of procrastination. As a student, it has been very easy to push school work aside and say, “It’ll get done later.” That later may have never come. This leads someone into thinking they can not handle anything more because they have pushed so much aside. 


One difference in this school year that has contributed to many students feeling burnt out is the workload that teachers have been assigning. With virtual learning, teachers may assign more work than when in person. There is a feeling that students have more time now just because they are at home. 

“It was really hard to keep up, and everything started piling up which led to a lot of stress. Once everything piled up it was also really hard to actually get it all done because I had no idea how to do any of it. I got super overwhelmed and just kinda watched as more and more assignments got marked as 0’s,” one student said. 


Another thing that contributed to students’ burnout this year is virtual learning itself. Students have had to adapt to four trimesters of unknown. It started off March 2020 when school was shut down completely, forcing students to learn virtually in the fall. This adaptation was hard for a lot of students. Waking up two minutes before class started, to just turn their computers on and fall back asleep. Lack of motivation and procrastination was common among students this year, leading to a feeling of defeat. There was no organization for some. Being at home did not serve as the best learning environment. 

It worsened my mental health being stuck inside all day on a school day schedule in my own home, a place I found comfort away from school,” one student mentioned. 


Stress was also a common factor leading to mental burnout. Expectations of students were sometimes unclear making it stressful to understand what needed to be done. Deadlines for assignments also factored into the stress of students. Mental disorders like anxiety and depression became more common. Some students had limited social interactions which led to feeling alone. Nevertheless, students managed to find a way to persevere through this trying time. Some may have even learned useful learning strategies. 

“I think I was more stressed this year than previous years because I had to be responsible for myself. I had to actually use a planner to remember due dates and it took so much willpower to actually do my work,” one GLHS student said. 


Outside of school, the pandemic has been very trying. Multiple students spoke on how their mental health was for the majority of the year. 

There were constantly ups and downs. Depending on my classes and the trimesters, there were times I thought it would get better then out of nowhere, a week of no motivation would hit. I would think it was just once in a while until it started to happen more often. I’m excited for the much needed summer break and going back in person. I know everyone says “Hopefully we can go back to normal” but I don’t even remember what normal was or how to go back to that anymore. After being in isolation for so long, my social skills and mentality has shifted significantly that I am so used to just being isolated. This is the new normal and going back will just be new again.” said a GLHS student. 


Computers have also contributed to the feeling of mental burnout. Staring at a screen for eight or more hours a day leads to headaches and eye strains. The blue light of the computers causes migraines among many students. Lots of students this year have become very sedentary. Not having to move around to classes has caused some students to just stay in one spot all day. Physical activity is very important for those in high school, as well as anyone. Not getting the opportunity to move around can cause students to feel lazy and overwhelmed. 


The 2020/2021 school year has been anything but normal. Students who are experiencing mental burnout after this tiring year are not alone. Hopefully, the upcoming school year is able to be to somewhat of a normal year resulting in less mental burnout among students.