Take Care of Both Yourself and Others This Summer

Summertime is always bittersweet. We say goodbye to our peers, teachers, and Parker itself for a few months, and for seniors, much longer. But it can also provide countless opportunities for jobs, internships, summer camps, and time to rest and recharge in preparation for a new year in the fall. So, this summer, we urge you to take this time and rest, in whatever way applies to you, after a physically and emotionally challenging year. Take care of yourself, but don’t forget others in the process.

For over a year we faced schedule changes and drastically changed from in-person, to online, to in-person again. The shift of academic intensity was challenging for all of us to manage, and ending the year with a finals week after being fully remote for almost eight months is not an easy feat. We may have made this point before in previous editorials about the new year and the uncertainty of going back, but it still stands. Nobody could have predicted what the 2020/2021 school year would look like for Parker students, and the fact that we rolled up our sleeves and tackled it head-on is an accomplishment that we all should take with us as we move on.

So first off, be proud of yourself for making it through a year unlike anything any of us have ever experienced. Don’t diminish your successes and achievements from this year, even if they weren’t “normal,” and took place online or in a different unusual format.

But, with successes also comes downfalls, and most of us have experienced some kind of burnout as we reached the final few weeks of class. Homework was pushed off in exchange for activities to better our mental health, a decision that we most likely would not have made in an alternate school year.

However, with summer on the horizon, our priorities may shift, and we on “The Weekly” want to stress that, without the constant stress of homework, tests, and projects, do what makes YOU happy. Read a book for fun, try out a new hobby, spend time outside, or, what we like to do, catch up on the latest issue of “The Weekly.” Burnout and exhaustion is our bodies’ way of asking for help, so listen, and let yourself rest. 

Something that we as humans so desperately need but rarely take advantage of is the concept of a break, and pre-pandemic very few of us recognized this lesson. For some of us, we have been working 24/7 since September 8, and for others it began much earlier. Our usual flurry of snow days and mini-breaks in the week were given up for extra class days thanks to Zoom, and this work hard/play less mentality can have a damaging effect on our adolescent minds. Let’s get back those days with the best summer we could possibly have.

However, summer care hopefully extends beyond just yourself. Although the pandemic is rapidly improving with vaccination availability, it is not yet over, and as we continuously stress, respect those around you physically, and emotionally. Beyond following COVID-19 protocols, remember to check in on your friends and loved ones.

Despite the fact that the world is changing, the routines that you may have fallen into with contacting others should not change as well. Though you may not be at home regularly on a Friday night, try to carve out time to talk with others who may be still waiting to get back to “normal.” Both you and your loved ones will appreciate it in the long run, however inconvenient you may believe it to be for the time being.

We ended the school year last year with uncertainty about what the fall would look like, given that we had just spent three whole months indoors, adapting to our new world with the coronavirus pandemic. And now, as some of us are preparing to go out into the world, beyond the walls of Parker that we have known for countless years, we are still faced with that uncertainty, albeit a new kind.

Do any of us know what the fall of 2021 will look like for school life at Parker? Will we still have to social distance? Wear masks? Eat lunch in our advisory pods? Who knows? What we do know, however, is that we can take this time between June and September to rest, recharge, and prepare ourselves for the future.