Pandemic Perseverance and Positivity


Photo by Maddie Austin

Talcott races to the finish line alongside her teammate freshman Marissa Freeman at the Blue Valley Southwest cross country course.

Throughout the 2020 to 2021 school year, a whirlwind of uncertainty and confusion has led the lives of BVN students as the entire world attempts to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the National Institutes of Health, the pandemic has created new stressors including fear and worry for loved ones, constraints on social activities, and sudden change of lifestyle.  

However, many BVN students try to think optimistically to make the best of this unique academic year, allowing them to grow and learn more about themselves. Many students like freshman Rachel Talcott began exercising to fill up the day. Talcott began running during quarantine in March to spend time outside, but soon became a part of her daily routine as summer began. 

“You just have to find little things in your day that make you happy,” Talcott said. “You never know what’s going to happen next and just have to be ready for the unexpected, taking things one day at a time.”

With this mindset, Talcott decided to join the BVN cross country team, an opportunity that she said provides her a break in the day to progress as a runner, meet new teammates, and set goals. According to Queensland Health, goal setting causes a surge of motivation to create growth and change, improving our work and overall health, especially in unpredictable situations like the pandemic

Senior Abby Collins created a few of her own goals during the school year, her most significant being working towards the Gold Award, an award through Girl Scouts achieved through choosing an issue in the community to develop a project for once obtaining approval from the Girl Scout council. Originally not planning to pursue the award due to her busy schedule, Collins changed her mind when school started later after Labor Day. Collins says she feels extremely grateful to be able to develop her leadership skills and address an issue she is passionate about (a gender divide in STEM) while pursuing the Gold Award.

“After spending more than 200 hours in one month, it was all completely worth it in the end after seeing the impact my project had on the community as well as on myself as a leader, and I am so glad that I took that opportunity,” Collins said.

Collins says that tasks like this help her focus on staying positive during this year, as well as participating in multiple extracurriculars that she emphasizes help her stay connected with her community. In class, Collins finds that she actually enjoys learning in a smaller setting and feeling more open and comfortable to participate. Senior Ozzy Scoggin also appreciates some aspects of the current hybrid learning mode, specifically how his physics class functions with videos uploaded for students at home to review. 

“It’s still an effective way of teaching,” Scoggin said. “That way if you miss a day in school, or you just aren’t able to go that day, you’re still able to stay caught up.”

With the 2020-21 school year being so different, Scoggin realized how easily things you take for granted can be taken away, like going out with friends and not seeing the other half of the alphabet at school. Junior Lars Yarkosky feels the same but explains how he remains a positive attitude with less social interaction.

“Happiness is too often over complicated in my opinion,” Yarkosky said. “There [are] many small things I have been doing to remain happy such as working out, cooking, binging a show, or even just talking on the phone with a friend.”    

Similar to Yarkosky, sophomore Sophia Cherafat has also been productive, furthering her passion for fashion by creating a social media account that showcases her eye for picking out outfits. Cherafat says she has always had an interest in fashion, but having more free time during the year has allowed her to truly develop that interest. 

“I started my account for a fun way to show my outfits and give inspiration to others,” Cherafat said. “Creating this account led to a lot of cool opportunities like a few companies reaching out to me and sending me their clothes.”

Cherafat’s main goal with her blog is to inspire others with her style and promote smaller brands at the same time. According to Clozette, immersing oneself in a hobby helps distract from trying situations like the present and create a different mindset.

Overall, the pandemic has pushed students at BVN to remain positive and grow within themselves, and discover their passions. For the future, Collins says that a successful solution comes with each person playing a role.

“It is important to stay in touch with reality and realize that there are steps that we each need to take to be a part of a solution,” Collins said. “Focusing on that solution is something that keeps me thinking positively.”