Mental Health of the Ramaz Community

Mental+Health+of+the+Ramaz+Community

Rachel Freilich ’22

As the Coronavirus outbreak turned into a pandemic in mid-March, the future of the Spring semester at Ramaz became part of the great unknown. When Upper School students finally found out that they would be off from school for an indeterminate period of time, the excitement reached a high. Since many other schools had already been cancelled and transitioned to online learning, Ramaz students wanted to be like the rest and have Zoom school. Little did the students know that this unplanned “vacation” would mostly impact them in a much more negative way.

While students sit home in their sweat clothes and pajamas to attend online classes and occasionally draw or read, boredom levels increase and the initial excitement of a slew of “snow days” plummeted. The question changed from, “When is school going to close?” to “When are we coming back already?” After this quarantine, students will never again wish for a school closure.

Many students have developed bad habits that have adversely affected their mental health. Students have been waking up between 8:30 and 9:30 in the morning and most are going to bed well after midnight. Additionally, students have become more apathetic towards learning and are forced to come up with stimulating activities to occupy their many hours of unstructured time. In between Zoom sessions, students are watching hours of television, reading, playing video games and taking the occasional socially-distanced walks outdoors. The new fad Tik Tok is sure to keep many busy during these difficult times, as they scroll continuously for hours and don’t realize how much time is passing (and wasted!). The outlier of positivity remains, as some Ramaz students are connecting virtually with disabled children and the homebound elderly to allow these populations a respite from their boredom.

What people seem to be overlooking is how staring at a screen for months straight is going to affect our eyesight and our brain function. In a recent survey, numerous students stated that the most difficult part of home schooling is staring at a screen all day. Julia Feit ’23 said, “I’m worried that by the end of this all, I’ll be more than just bored. Staring at a screen all day is definitely going to be difficult to overcome after this all goes away.”

Of course, health and safety are of utmost importance during this time of uncharted territory for us all and we understand why we are not able to socialize and attend school like we used to until this pandemic is under control. We are praying for those who are ill and know that this will be a time that we will unfortunately never forget.