Ask Faith: COVID Induced FOMO, College-Admissions Issues, Remote-School Troubles and the Political Strain on Relationships

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Faith Mendelson on Canva.com

“Ask Faith” is a new advice column to help you navigate high school and to answer all of your burning questions! Submit any questions to @ehsvoyager on Instagram!

Q: All of my friends are going to parties, and I don’t feel comfortable going because of COVID, but I feel like I’m missing out. I feel like I’m wasting my senior year, but I don’t want to get/spread the virus. 

A: I completely understand your struggle. Since freshman year, we built up what we wanted our senior year to be like, but none of us expected a global pandemic. I think I speak for many seniors when I say that I’ve been feeling the same way. However, I’ve been thinking about it like this: the more we adhere to COVID guidelines (wearing masks, socially distancing, etc.), the sooner we will go back to normal. While this has affected our senior year in ways we could have never imagined, if we do our part now, we will have the rest of our lives to make up for our lack of a senior year. If all else fails, there is pride in knowing that you, personally, are doing what you can and are doing the right thing. I know it can be difficult to see your friends having fun irresponsibly, but if you recognize the fact that you being responsible might be helping to get us back to normal soon, maybe that can make it a little less difficult.

Q: Eastern doesn’t have a dance team. What are similar alternative activities that I could get involved in?

A: Oh no! I can see how it would be disappointing to see that your school doesn’t offer something you’re interested in! However, for dance specifically, there is a similar alternative: Winter Cheerleading. Winter Cheer has a lot of the same qualities that a dance team would. While it’s not an exact match, and there are some differences, it’s the closest Eastern has to a dance team. However, if dance is really something you’re passionate about, look into creating your own dance team at Eastern! By talking to your guidance counselor, the athletic director, and finding a teacher that would be interested in becoming an advisor, you’d be on your way to creating a dance team! Who knows? Other students might also be disappointed that an Eastern Dance Team doesn’t exist, and in that case, I’m sure they’d be interested in joining!

Q: My parents are working from home and I can’t focus on my classes because they’re too noisy. What can I do?

A: Yikes! I can see how that could be frustrating. I know the transition to online school comes with a lot of adjusting, and it sounds like your parents are probably going through a similar adjustment. So, what can you do? First, I’d suggest being in a different room than your parents, and using headphones during your classes to block out as much sound as possible. Maybe ask your parents to use headphones while they’re working as well.

If that doesn’t help, it might be beneficial to sit down with your parents and voice your concerns. After all, I’m sure your parents value your education, and can see how the distractions might be infringing upon it. Through talking out the problem with your parents, you might be able to work out a system that works for all of you. 

Q: I’m still having trouble adjusting to the new schedule. I’m always late to my classes. How can I be on time?

A: I completely understand where you’re coming from! I think the change in the schedule has been a significant adjustment for lots of students! Since a bell would ring to signify the beginning and end of classes when we were in school, it might be helpful to create your own “bell schedule.” You can do this by creating alarms on your phone to signify the beginning and end of each period; you can even create an alarm a few minutes before each class as a “warning bell.”

Another way to ensure being on time is to set the bell schedule as your lock screen, or as a widget if you are updated to iOS14. You could also just take a photo of the bell schedule, and save it for easy access. Nowadays, the world relies so heavily on technology, so it’s only fair to use it to your advantage in getting to classes on time. 

Q: I’m applying to colleges but I feel like I know nothing about each school. How can I learn more about the schools I’m applying to. I don’t want to be stuck at a school I don’t like because I didn’t have enough information.

A: This is a really great question! This year, I feel like many seniors are in the same boat. With many universities closed due to COVID, no tours are commencing, so it’s difficult to get an idea of what the school is really like. However, there are still ways to learn about each school. For instance, if the schools you’re interested in are close enough, maybe just take a drive to the campus and look around: look at the surrounding area, look at the general atmosphere, look at the campus itself. Maybe even take a map of the campus, which can usually be found on the school’s website, and have a “self-guided tour.”

In addition, look on the websites of the schools and conduct some research about the things you’re interested in. Athletics, activities, academics– it’s all on the schools website. Lastly, reach out to students of the schools you’re applying to: see what they have to say about student life. They’ll be able to tell you what the food on campus is like, what the social scene is like, how their professors are, etc. In fact, if you are able to reach out to someone in your preferred major, they’ll be able to give you an idea of what those classes and professors are like.

However, there is always the chance that you will commit to a school that you think you love, but then once you are actually a student, you might find out it’s not for you… and that’s okay! According to the Department of Education, 25% of all college students transfer at some point during their time in college, so it’s not unheard of! Bottom line, while this decision might seem like the biggest one of your life, and a permanent one at that,  you won’t be “stuck” anywhere. 

Q: I got rejected from my dream school. What now?

A: Ouch. Rejection hurts: I know it, you know it, we all know it. But while it might feel like the end of the world, it’s not. Yes, it might sting for a little while, but keep this in mind: everything happens for a reason. While the ‘reason’ might not be clear right now, there’s always a reason.

If this school was a reach school for you, maybe you would have been struggling academically the entire time you went there. Maybe the location would have presented problems for you. Maybe you’re just meant to go somewhere else: maybe another school is the perfect fit for you, but you wouldn’t have even thought about it if you had gotten accepted into your dream school. Also, the term “dream school” is just what it sounds like: a dream.

Often we tend to build things, in this case, colleges, up in our heads to the point of perfection, and then once we have that thing, or attend that school, it doesn’t live up to our expectations. That being said, you have every right to be disappointed, but don’t let that disappointment stop you from finding another school that might be perfect for you! Take this as an opportunity to go back to the drawing board, look at all of your schools with fresh eyes, and really figure out where you’ll be happy.

Who knows? 10 years from now, you might look back on your college experience and realize that the school you chose, the school that you didn’t deem your “dream school”, was the school that was right for you.

Q: The college application process is all really confusing to me. What is the difference between Early Decision and Early Action. What’s Rolling Admissions? What’s the best option?

A: The college application process is really confusing to you and every other senior applying to college, trust me. And all of the different ways of applying certainly doesn’t make it any easier. Let me break it down for you: the biggest difference between Early Decision, Early Action, and Rolling Admissions is 1) when the applications are due, and 2) whether or not the application is binding.

For example, Early Decision is binding: meaning if you apply Early Decision to a school and get in, you must go there.  For the most part, you can only apply Early Action to one school, while still being able to apply Early Action/Rolling Admissions to other schools. Early Decision applications are usually due around November 1, and applicants usually hear back from schools around December 15.

On the other hand, Early Action is non-binding. The biggest difference between Early Decision and Early Action is that with Early Action, there is no commitment. These applications are usually due in early November, and applicants usually hear back sometime in late November, December, or even January.

However, applying Early Action to some schools can get complicated; Early Action can also be Restricted/Single Choice Early Action which sets restrictions on how many schools you can apply to with an Early Action application. That being said, be sure to read the fine print of each university you are applying to. And then there’s Rolling Admissions. Applying to colleges with a Rolling Admissions plan means the college will look at your application and make a split-decision to accept or deny you. Whew! It’s a lot to retain, I know.

But the good news is, is you’re not the first person who is confused by all of the ways to apply, so there’s countless YouTube videos explaining the application process. If you’re still confused, or want a little bit more of an in-depth explanation, try checking out a YouTube video explaining the process!

Q: My boyfriend and I disagree on a lot of political issues and it’s starting to cause problems between us. How can we save our relationship?

A: This is a great question! At this time in our lives, were beginning to stray from our parents political beliefs and form our own opinions and ideas, which is a good thing, but can cause some issues along the way. Especially if a girlfriend or boyfriend enters the picture with different beliefs than you. That being said, this could be an opportunity to educate each other about your beliefs; having a discussion about your differences might change how you view a topic, or visa versa.

It’s also important to look at your different beliefs and identify if these beliefs are a matter of politics, or a matter of human rights: there is a difference. It is your job to look at these differences in opinion and decide if they are a deal-breaker, if they go against who you are as a person, or if they are just a harmless difference in opinion that you can respectfully disagree with. 

 

Q: I am feeling completely overwhelmed with schoolwork! Any advice on how to stay organized with my assignments?

A: Yes! The best way to stay organized with all of your assignments is to write them down as you get them. You can use a physical planner/calendar, or you can use one online. Google Calendar is a great online-option if technology suits you better. By doing this, you can have all of your assignments in one place so you don’t miss anything. However, it is important that you write down your assignments as they are assigned so you don’t forget something later.

Another way to stay organized is to make a to-do list: the Reminders app on your phone works great for this. You can create a new tab in the app for schoolwork, and under that tab create a reminder for each class. When you get an assignment, put the assignment in the reminder for the corresponding class, set the due date, and then you have a to-do list that will remind you of your due dates. By implementing a planner/calendar and a to-do list, you should feel more organized and less overwhelmed!