Grace Bradley was feeling burnt out.
It was the second semester of her junior year at CHS, and all of her time was consumed with school work, extracurriculars and feelings of exhaustion. She wouldn’t get home until late at night, ultimately facing hours
of homework that carried her further into the night. But when the Covid-19 pandemic forced the state into a lockdown and months-long school closures, Bradley was confronted by an unexpected change.
“I was just skipping school,” Bradley said. “I was like, ‘I don’t want to go,” and I was trying to catch up. Then [it
was] completely different. I didn’t know how to handle myself at first because there was nothing to do.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, Bradley was faced with a hump. At first, she followed suit with the state- wide lockdown and sudden shift in lifestyle; she had nothing to do and found herself meandering through
her house. But after adjusting to the new copious amounts of time she had on her hands, Bradley finally
got over her hump: she learned how to be bored.
“I taught myself how to be bored and just be fine with that,” Bradley said. “I could spend days doing nothing,
and I wouldn’t be going crazy. I was fine to just sit and let my mind wander. I think that’s a really good skill because we can get so caught up in our lives doing all these things. At some point you need to be able to have
moments where you aren’t doing anything.”
Out of this complacency with her boredom, Bradley’s motivation increased. While she was able to sit for hours and be okay with boredom, she was also able to conjure more energy to start tasks or projects. Now, Bradley must shift this motivation towards school. Although she has less free time compared to the beginning of the pandemic, her schedule is not as time consuming as before the lockdown last year. To acclimate
to the challenges of online school and an increased workload, Bradley has taken to making lists to complete the tasks her senior year has welcomed.
“It is so much easier if I plan things out — just like small things,” Bradley said. “I’m going to eat breakfast at eight o’clock, then go for a walk and then go to classes — just tiny things. If I plan it, I feel more accomplished, and it helps me get through my day.”
List making has become a coping mechanism for Bradley, allowing her to adjust to the changes online school has brought. This new set of organizational skills, however, is not the only lesson she has learned during the past year that she will carry with her in life. Bradley has realized the importance of sticking to her morals. After hearing of her cousin’s travels during the pandemic, Bradley was frustrated with this irresponsibility. But instead of judging her cousin, she was able to assert what she believed was right and stuck to it.
“It doesn’t matter what other people are doing,” Bradley said. “You just have to do what you think is right. I think that’s something to really take, although it’s really hard — especially in this time when you want to be doing other things.”
Despite the academic burnout she was experiencing before the pandemic ensued, Bradley is ready to go back to in-person school. She had initially thought about taking a gap year to replenish her motivation, but now she is heavily anticipating going to college next year. And Bradley will be bringing the changes and lessons she discovered during the pandemic with her.