The last year has been a struggle for everyone—but especially students who are facing immeasurable loss at such a formative time in their lives. Luckily, you have an unyielding support system whether you realize it or not, and we’re not just talking about friends and family. Every high school has a school counseling center and a counselor who is there for anything a student may need (some students are lucky enough to have private counselors and consultants to help them!). So if you’re still having a hard time during the pandemic and haven’t connected with your school counselor (or private consultant) yet, here’s why you should and what you could reach out to them about.
Connect about your college search
Right now, the college search may feel more overwhelming than ever with changes continuing to take place as a result of the pandemic. But counselors have been through college search seasons over and over again with many different types of students; effectively, they’ve seen it all. Ease some of the burden off your shoulders by utilizing their experience. It’s also likely that the idea of even going to college is discouraging right now. Your counselor is a great person to talk to who can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel and the success you can still find despite the odds. And if you’re really worried that your experience will be irreparably altered or that college may not be in the cards, they can help you figure out what your best alternative options are for delaying attendance.
Connect about your obstacles
As much as we’d all like to believe we’re strong enough to overcome anything, it’s 100% okay to accept when you need help getting over a hurdle and to ask for it. Maybe you’re struggling with writing your college essays. Maybe you’re concerned about failing a class. Maybe you’re worried your standardized test scores won’t measure up to the schools you want to apply to. (Although, that may not be an issue anymore with how many schools are going test-optional). Whatever it is, your counselor can provide an additional perspective and ideas for ways to overcome the problem before a simple obstacle becomes a serious issue. Speaking of which…
Connect about your mental health
The anxiety and mental health struggle the pandemic has caused is nothing anyone should be dealing with alone—especially when we’re all facing the same feelings of hopelessness. Your school counselor is a great person to talk to before your mental health spirals to a place you can’t handle. That connection could be the difference between feeling a release from finally sharing some of your pent-up feelings and needing to seek outside mental health help if difficult feelings persist. Of course, your school counselor is not a replacement for a therapist if that’s something you and your family feel you need, but they’re an adult you can trust to have your best interests at heart.
Connect to stay engaged
Counselors have been struggling to keep their students engaged in school and learning, the college search, and just about everything over the past year. Disconnect is easy—it’s easier to do than facing the reality of what’s going on and the uncertain future. But not engaging in school right now will only set you up for failure in the future—whether things start to get better soon or not. If you want to attend college, it’s important to realize that less than stellar grades and teachers who can’t write letters of recommendation because they weren’t able to build a relationship with you aren’t going to do you any favors in the long run. Actively engaging in your education is only going to help you, even if it seems like the biggest task in the world right now.
Connect for the sake of connecting
We don’t have as many opportunities to connect with others as we used to since having to social distance—but we’re also not living in the Stone Age. The internet makes it so easy to connect with others even if it’s not in the fashion we’re used to. So just connect! Ask your counselor how they’re doing every now and again. Show them the kind and caring person you are by understanding we’re all going through this together. You may be losing a lot right now, but that’s why school counselors and so many others are doing everything they can to make this easier on you—because they truly care about you and your future success.
The pandemic won’t last forever, and there are some things we just can’t get back. But instead of disengaging from those who can help us, we should be reaching out a (virtual) hand to make a connection with those people. Keep your eyes focused on the joy your goals and passions bring—because they’re all still attainable, and your school counselors want to give you a boost to help you achieve them.
If you’re looking for more advice and resources related to the pandemic, visit our COVID-19 student resources page.