Up Front and Personal

The Value of a Strong School Support System

By Meghan Anderson

COVID-19 has been a life-altering experience for many. But, I can’t imagine that any graduating senior thought they’d finish one of their academic milestones at home because of a pandemic.

From personal experience, I know the pandemic posed many new challenges for other students and me. A major hurdle was adjusting to remote learning, finding the right balance, and formulating my schedule in a hybrid space. It was difficult to go from the “normal” five days in a classroom to a fully remote learning scenario in what felt like the blink of an eye.

My motivation for schoolwork and studying — which I’ve always prided myself on — dwindled as I attended classes from my bedroom. Distractions seemed to be endless — from lagging connections on-screen to the comfort of my bed being only steps away from my desk.

In the beginning, it was nice to roll out of bed and log onto a class while wearing sweatpants, but as time went on, it felt as though the line between school and home was blurred into almost non-existence. I felt drained due to the monotony that came with being confined to my house.

If you spoke with my family and friends, you would quickly learn how important excelling in school is to me. And when I felt my drive slipping away, I made conscious changes to achieve my accomplishments. I worked to find a balance. I learned how to organize my day, pause on assignments when I felt that I was no longer working effectively, and made time to do things that brought me joy and helped alleviate stress. After taking those short breaks to decompress, I dove right back into a focused approach to my schoolwork and worked on any assignments I needed to complete that day. I made a schedule to make sure that I properly divided up my time.

Another key reason I achieved my goals was that I continuously reflected on why school is important to me and found the motivation to continue pushing forward. I reminded myself how much I enjoy learning from my teachers, being in a classroom — even virtually — with my peers, and constantly expanding my knowledge.

Being a student at Fontbonne Hall during the pandemic made taking on these challenges much less discouraging. My teachers were actively and attentively responding to my questions and helping me reach my academic goals.

There is an open door — or in this case, an open-email policy — with the faculty, and I never hesitated to reach out for help. It was easy to schedule a meeting, online or in person, with my teachers to make sure all of my questions were answered.

Fontbonne has built a strong support system within the entire school community, which made taking on the challenges the pandemic brought on much less daunting. When I reached out to anyone at Fontbonne, I knew immediately that they would always be there to reach back.

Meghan Anderson is Fontbonne Hall’s Class of 2021 valedictorian.