The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

Senior Issue 2024
June 5, 2024

A Year for Mental Health

By Hillary Simmons
Truck Editor

Photo Courtesy Of: JR Grapevine

2020 has been a transformational year, to say the least. From normalizing public mask-wearing to videoconferencing, 2020’s happenings have changed lives in ways many never imagined. With the arrival of 2021, we can add one more thing to the mile-long list of things that last year impacted: our approach to New Year’s Resolutions. 

For senior Leandra Hall, this is especially true. In years past, Hall’s resolutions mostly included expanding her achievements. They included things like getting all 5’s on AP exams, going to more fencing lessons, or learning more German. But this year, though, it is all about perspective for Hall. 

“Beforehand, I did mundane things. But now, they’re bigger things. They have a lot to do with perspective and how I view the world and how that’s kind of changed,” Hall said.

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Of everything that happened in 2020, it was the pandemic that most strongly influenced her resolutions, or as she calls them, goals, for 2021. Mental health and reducing stress is her top priority right now. 

“[This year, I’ll be] looking at the internal problems within…and understanding them, then working on fixing them. I want to reach the point of ‘Look I can manage my stress very very well. I’ve been able to have a whole day to relax to myself because of all my hard work.’ Despite having more time on my hands, I’m still pretty stressed out. Because Lord knows online school is a lot crazier than physical,” Hall said. 

That definitely resonates with a lot of people right now. She noted her two main resolutions as spending more quality time with friends and investing more time in her art. As with many students taking classes online, Hall has had less social interaction because of the pandemic, and she finds herself needing to carve out time in her schedule to spend with her friends. As for her goal regarding her artwork,  Hall has found mixed levels of success. 

“Let me be honest with myself. So far, I have not been doing well. I’ve been drawing, but drawing has been the source of my stress. For college apps, I had to push back a lot of my [AP Art] assignments,” Hall said. 

Instead of focusing on the negative, though, Hall has found joy in the positives of her situation.

“Even though art has become a source of my stress over the last three weeks, I’ve still found a lot of enjoyment in it. I’ve been experimenting. It relaxes me after doing math, for example. I know sometimes for my math class, it gets stressful,” Hall said.

If she had to grade herself for her success with her goals, Hall gave herself a C.

“I’m still stressed out, but I’m still working on fixing that stress. So to me, the fact I’m still trying means I’m passing, so I’ll give myself a C,” Hall said.

“It’s about motivation and consistency. You need to make sure it’s not too much. You have to be consistent. You can’t gain a new habit after one day of doing it. You need to be consistent for thirty days and it will become natural to you,” Hall said. 

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A Year for Mental Health