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A Letter To The Anxious High School Student

Let's start with a deep breath, shall we?

If the global pandemic, social justice wars or just general existence have been making you feel more on edge than usual, let us be the first to tell you that you are not alone.

A survey found that roughly two-out-of-three teens believe their COVID-related anxiety will have a lasting impact on their lives.

Why wouldn't you feel that way?! Right?

Maybe it feels like you lost the summer you would re-invent yourself, or maybe you are disappointed that you cannot be as active with your sports teams as usual. Maybe you were looking forward to your Senior Night, or maybe your access to something outside of home, even if its homework, will not be the same this year. Regardless, your entire world got turned upside down and you have every right to feel: frustrated, sad, disappointed, angry, scared or any combination of these. One recent graduate described the impact of social distancing on his life.

"I really thrive off face-to-face interactions. Not having that for the past four or five months has been really, really difficult."

But, the more alarming data focused on how students, like you, are coping with these stressors. Seven out of ten students claimed the COVID-related changes heavily impacted their lives. Almost half of these students expressed the stress as being excessive while nearly 70 percent felt it was best to keep their emotions hidden. Another article noted that over 40 percent of 'college students reported symptoms of depression in a survey of 18,764 students from the end of March through May by the American College Health Association and the Healthy Minds Network.'

Let us be the first to say: you do NOT need to keep pretending that everything is okay - it's not, and that's okay.

Dear Anxious Student,

We know times are tough being an adolescent during such a historic moment. It's okay to be feeling (or not feeling) throughout all of this instability, but we do have to let you in on a little secret.. Life is not fair. We know that's probably not the answer you were hoping for, but it is the reality. Although it may seem like COVID and the strain of the pandemic will last forever, it is temporary. The good news is: you are in control of how you react to any given situation. Yup, you have a super power and its called self-awareness.

Before you freak out or close this tab, just hear us out..

You have an opportunity during this strange time to both reflect and reform. This is an opportunity to re-invent yourself, your relationships, your values and your education. No one else in history has been given opportunity. It's all yours. You may feel like you have lost control of your life right now since it does not resemble the life you are used to. That's not true - you are and always will be in control of your education. It is something that no one can take from you if you choose to pursue it. Learning is not about being in a classroom, getting a certain grade point average, or even being at a certain pace.

Learning, whether it comes easily to you or not, allows you to make sense of and conquer the world around you with passion and confidence. Learning empowers you to trust in your ability to make good decisions. Learning leads you to the person you are becoming and opens the door to new opportunities. Learning is available to you at all times, anywhere. Your perspective, not your capability, decides if you receive it or not. With that powerful and inspirational rant, Insight Agency would like to share some advice to our students:

If You Are A Senior...

Whew - you made it! You have finished your foundational education and its time to think about what is next. Note: this does not necessarily refer to college being the next step. That's the horrible amazing thing about adulthood - you have options! However, we did find that people that choose to go down the college route tend to secure financial stability a lot easier than those who do not. Learn more from this post - here. For our seniors interested in higher education, this is going to be a

Check out this to-do list by the College Board - here.

If You Are A Junior...

Alright, things are starting to speed up. People have probably started to ask you about what you want to do with your life, or they will begin too. YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW THE ANSWER. You can stop holding your breath now.

If You Are A Sophomore...

Welcome to your last year as an underclassman! If you are a sophomore, consider your life outside of school, seek out leadership opportunities, put in an effort to keep your grades up and start thinking about which standardized test you will want to take. If college is not in your future plans, begin dreaming about possible alternatives.

If You Are A Freshman...

Welcome to high school! This is your new chapter. It It's time to start think about getting involved, practicing time management, ways to challenge yourself and your future goals! It is okay if your friend group begins to change, you desire to do more things by yourself or you start making plans with new people. All part of the process that is coming into yourself!

If You Are In Middle School..

Look at you being proactive and starting to think about your future! We love to see the curiosity and the drive - keep it up! You are in the clear for now. Just make sure to nail your basic concepts since everything builds on those ideas. Sadly, this article is not focused on your experience. If you want us to write a letter specifically for you, let us know on our Instagram - here.


What Are Some Signs That I Have Been Neglecting My Mental Health?

There are several key signs that a person needs to address their neglected mental health. If any of the following statements sound like you or someone you know, we encourage you to reach out to a therapist, trusted adult, or even Insight for more guidance and support:

  • Your mood changes often leaving you feeling irritable or hopeless

  • You do not feel as connected to your personal relationships as you used to

  • Rather than texting or video chatting your friends, you want to be alone or unintentionally isolated yourself at home

  • Your hobbies do not interest you anymore - in fact, nothing really interests you anymore

  • You struggle to fall asleep at night because your thoughts are racing

  • You sleep all the time because life seems too overwhelming to bare

  • You noticed significant changes in your weight (loss or gain)

  • Your memory or concentration has been slipping more than usual

  • You have not felt the need or desire to take care of yourself (i.e. basic hygiene, self care regime, etc.)

  • You have been having frequent thoughts about harming yourself or suicide

  • You have been drawn to or overusing substances to numb the feelings

Oh, one more thing:

Thank you for reading this post.

Uncovering Knowledge That Lasts,

IA Team

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