Coping with COVID

Timely tips from two School Captains

Talk to your mates and family, stick to a routine, remain positive, stay active, engage with your teachers, get plenty of sleep, be adaptable, learn new personal skills … all sage pieces of advice for surviving our enforced lockdown and remote learning.

But there’s nothing quite like hearing a tip straight from the horse’s mouth.

Trinity’s current and previous School Captains, brothers Jamie and Spiro Christopoulos, have given a candid assessment of the things they have struggled with, and how they have coped in these unprecedented times.

Their observations may help other students going through the same experiences, not to mention their parents and teachers.

Jamie’s advice:

1. Keep up the communication

This is a very challenging time for everyone, so it is important to keep talking and communicating with those people who are going through the same challenges.

This might be the people in your household, your extended family and cousins, or importantly your mates at school.

Keep talking to your mates; it is as easy as sending a message just to check in with the guys that you normally see countless times a day.

2. Separate your work place

I like to do all of my schoolwork on my desk; otherwise I will go and sit in the living room or on the balcony outside.

By separating these two places, I find I am able to focus a lot better when working, and I can truly zone out when relaxing.

Don’t stay sedentary in one spot all day; try to move around. Think of a normal school day, and how we move between classes and break spaces. You don’t have your recess and lunch in a classroom with all of your work in front of you.

3. Get out and do something

Unfortunately, being at home we aren’t able to do sports like we normally would at school. This is definitely taking a toll on many who are used to heavy training and games for winter sports every week.

I recommend you try to stay active, and get outside to do something. I’m not saying go on a 10km run, but try to get out even for a walk around the block, or grab your sibling and go down to kick a ball at the park.

It is important to get away from the screen when possible and get some fresh air.

4. Engage with teachers during lessons

It can be difficult to stay attentive in all of your classes when you are sitting in the same spot, in front of the same screen from 8:30 until 3:40 every day.

I was struggling with this, but by engaging with the teacher through Teams, I have been able to keep up attentiveness.

Don’t be afraid to speak out in the class online, ask questions and clarify certain things with your teacher. It helps you and shows your teachers you are engaged.

5. Stick to some sort of routine

This may seem like an extended holiday period but I encourage everyone to treat it like a normal school day with some minor adjustments.

We all now have the luxury of a couple of hours of extra sleep, and don’t have to wear our full uniform, but that’s not saying that the routine should be thrown out of the window.

Wake up at the same time every morning, have something to eat before period 1, and get ready, dressed and prepared like you would for school.

Do whatever works for you, but maintain some sort of routine with the way the day pans out.

Spiro’s advice:

1. Stay positive. Although it isn’t easy learning from home, the key is to be positive and remain optimistic, because eventually we will get out the other side and get through the difficult times. Positive energy is crucial to how successful you perform when learning remotely.

2. Make the most of the opportunity. Using the time in lockdown to your advantage is crucial, especially if you’re in Years 10 to 12.

Without the commute to and from school each day, plus no official co-curricular or sport, there’s a lot more time you have on your hands. Don’t waste it.

Gaining a head start on an assessment task or exam prep is a good way to spend that time.

3. Keep your routine as normal as possible. Things like putting on a piece of your school uniform, or sticking to the same break times, are good ways to keep you on track.

It’s easy to get distracted and veer off track, but keeping steady on that path can be easier if you try keeping the routine as normal as possible.

4. Co-operate with people you’re living with.

Being within the same four walls with your family for such long periods can be tough at times, but it’s all about working with them as best as you can.

Staying calm, and just accepting that everyone has their ups and downs, is an important tip to get through the lockdown.

5. Have an open mindset.

Things might not be the same and you might not like remote learning, but if you go into it with an open mind, you’ll get through it a lot easier.

Do your best to adapt to the new conditions to make the transition smooth. If you’re optimistic, there’s a good chance you’ll get more out of the experience and learn more from it, too.

Now for the things they have struggled with.

Jamie:

1. Motivation

Maintaining motivation throughout an entire school day, let alone an entire week, has become increasingly difficult. Some days are certainly better than others.

A lot of people are struggling with the same thing, especially moving into the uncertainty of when the trial exams will be taking place for Year 12.

This is where communication comes in. By talking to mates I have found we are able to motivate each other and keep each other on the right path.

2. Workload

There have been days when a lot of work has been set over a range of subjects. If the workload is too much, I have communicated with my teachers if I have struggled, and they are always more than understanding, and take the feedback into consideration.

Again, don’t be afraid to send an email, or speak out during the class, and your teachers may make adjustments where necessary.

At the same time, try your best to complete all of the work that is set, but if the load is too great I would probably ask a mate for their perspective, and then politely mention this to the teacher.

3. Fatigue

These school days do take it out of you, and many days I have finished quite tired and drowsy. It has then become a bit of a struggle to complete work at night.

However, the nights where I have slept long and well have assisted in reducing the impacts of this. A good night’s sleep is important now more than ever, so you can focus for the next day.

One quote from a speech by the Head Master a year ago stuck with me. He said: “If you can’t get out of it, get into it.”

It is nearly impossible to anticipate where we will be in the future, and we can’t quickly change the circumstance we are in.

Therefore, it is important to try to embrace our situation, and get something positive out of it although at times that seems almost impossible.

For the Year 12s it’s a good time to sit down and study with no distractions, and come into our upcoming exams well prepared.

For younger students, try to get some positives; take it as a life experience in the ability to adapt and change according to new circumstances, which you can carry with you for the rest of your life.

Of course, these things are all easier said than done, but it is the small actions that can really assist you in the biggest ways.

Spiro: 

1. Not being able to see friends.

One of the best parts about day to day Trinity life is the interaction with one another. Not being able to do that is tough, especially if you’re in your senior years. Those moments create memories forever, and putting that on hold can be disappointing.

2. Sport season being put on hold.

Sport is such an important part of what we do and our DNA at Trinity, and with the winter season being put on hold or potentially cancelled is extremely unfortunate.

Premierships are on the line and with only a few more games to go in the season the end is near, but might not be completed.

Year 12 students playing in their final season unfortunately have to appreciate the good run they’ve had at the start of the season and remember the good times they’ve had playing sport over the years.

3. Uncertainty.

No matter who you are or how old you are, not knowing when you’ll be back in the classroom or back on school grounds is terrible at times.

But everyone else is in the same shoes, so it’s important to be patient and wait until information is available rather than speculating.

4. Staying on task.

When you’re at home and the boundaries aren’t there like they are at school, it can be hard to stay focused at times. That’s why keeping your routine in place as best as possible is important.

5. Not having a teacher in the room.

We’re so lucky to have such great support networks at school with staff on hand to provide instant feedback and guidance on our work.

For senior students, it just isn’t the same when you haven’t got that face to face interaction with staff members day to day.

For more tips, see the message from the Prefects on the Green and White Army FaceBook page.


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