Online school from California provided needed mental break


Picture by Lily Caplan ’22

This was taken on a Monday evening in San Diego. We went on our daily walk around the neighborhood after my two family friends had finished school, by this time I was long done with school and had finished all my homework. I would usually do my work while everyone was still in school, to get it out of the way.

Imagine waking up at 4:45 a.m. so you can attend school between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. five days a week.  That was my experience when, on Dec. 29, I traveled to San Diego, California to visit family friends and attended online school from Jan. 4 through Jan. 19. 

Even though I am not a morning person, having school end so early made it all worth it.  I made the choice to go full online and took the opportunity to go visit which was a privilege in itself. 

Most days went like this: I would promptly finish off my school sessions with an unapologetic nap, then go grab a delicious poke bowl and eat it at the beach for lunch. I was lucky enough to have access to a car so I could explore the city on my own, while my family friends attended school and work. I was pretty much living the life. 

My trip was an opportunity that I will forever be grateful for, and it greatly improved my mental health. Going to San Diego provided me with a break from the stress of home, while I simultaneously kept up with my clubs, meetings, and classes. I credit the bright, warm weather for making me the most happy. I was able to go outside a lot more because of the warm weather, we did everything outside. 

I recognize the privilege of my trip; most cannot simply hop on a plane to California for three weeks. However, I saw an opportunity and seized it. 

Being in California did not interrupt my schoolwork or affect my grades. I could have just blown off my homework and gone to the beach, but I promised myself that I wouldn’t let being away hurt my GPA or other commitments. 

For me, everything I did in Westport was also virtual, so I saw no difference doing it from my bedroom in Westport or doing it from a bedroom in another state. 

The repetitiveness of online school days are immense, and most of my friends can agree that days seem to blend into one perpetual cycle, like revolving doors. I wanted and needed change.

Connecticut state rules state that “an Affected Traveler is exempt from the self-quarantine requirement if the Affected Traveler (1) has had a test for COVID-19 in the seventy-two (72) hours prior to arrival in Connecticut or at any time following arrival in Connecticut.”

So, after I returned, I followed protocol and got a rapid COVID-19 test. I then waited five days before getting a PCR test, and then ended my quarantine after a week at home. 

I believe that any chance you have to improve your mental health whether it’s going on a trip, taking a walk or talking to a friend is important. We’re currently living in a world where every day seems the same, so it’s up to us to find something that brings us joy and breaks the cycle.