What’s Next? By Arielle D.

2020 FSM Student Ambassador, Arielle D., writes this month about the things she's learned about setting herself up for success for virtual learning this Fall! Read her blog!


What’s Next?

Being completely honest, these past 6 months for me have felt like my whole life was put on pause. Even when it came to the root of who I wanted to become in my transition to adulthood, this isolation has forced me to reassess not only my physical goals but my mental ones as well.

When transitioning into college as a freshman I was most excited for the connections on campus I would make, the conversations I would have, the in-class learning, and the excitement of becoming a professional in my intended major. But that all started to drift into worries of failure once everything shifted to online. As the pandemic hit in the middle of my winter semester, I noticed a lack of motivation in myself to succeed. I was looking for ways out, in the headspace that I was simply not good enough for online learning. I had the mentality that I cannot learn and understand things virtually when really I just had the wrong mindset about it.

Unfortunately because of the difficult transition, I was not able to pass one of my courses so I took the initiative to take the same course again the following spring semester. Taking a 16-week course crammed into 8 weeks of classes, I had little motivation of wanting to do well. I was ultimately stressed, getting upset and emotional about what was going on within the media and my own mental battles that I simply gave up halfway so that I could focus on myself and my own mental health. This new lifestyle is very secluded for me and it just made me go deeper into this mental state of not being able to make it out of the circumstance.

As I started to work virtually with different advocacy related events, I was able to understand that if I can create goals, a schedule, and overall mental awareness to succeed at this work then I should be able to create those same goals for my education as well. I talked with my campus coach about the options I could choose for the upcoming semester and we came up with a plan that will hopefully make it easier for me to navigate this era of virtual learning. In the fall I will be switching to part-time to help ease the stress of virtual learning.

While I didn’t stick with my original goals from the beginning, I have realized that it is just something you have to learn to adapt to as an adult. Financially it will be more difficult as switching to part-time does lower the award aid amount I receive from the different scholarships but I believe if I go in and STICK with the mindset of success and to learn something, I will succeed. I have created an “at home routine weekly schedule” in my planner of what each day will look like, tasks/to-do, and have even added in time for meditation and yoga.

Thinking back to when I was transitioning out of high school into college, I really did set a list of goals to accomplish in school to make sure I wasn’t going to fail. Now I feel I have to reassess those goals around the structure of today’s world. Thinking about it, the use of technology has remarkably changed from 2 years ago. I know that as a foster youth I was able to adapt in many different environments understand what my role was in them and doing what I needed to do to survive/succeed. I now have to find a way to adapt to the new environment of online learning as a way to succeed. I wish myself nothing but the best for my future and hope that others take my words as a calling to find a way to reinvent yourself and your future success in these new times.

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