27 September 2021
Getting out of our Comfort Zones
We’ve been in school for just over a month now and it seems as if everyone has settled into a routine more or less. I love seeing all of the students fill the study hall, chapel, and dining hall as those three areas were left empty over the course of last year. The school is buzzing with excitement, chatter, and laughter. Everything seems like it’s back to normal, except it’s not. We’re still wearing masks, trying to keep our distance, and are aware of every cough and sneeze.
COVID has taken a toll on all of us, on our social emotional health, our anxiety levels, and our sense of safety. Some students seem apprehensive to stay after school, join a club, or try out for a sport.
In Personal Development class, we talked about our feelings about coming back to school and how there was some apprehension. Everyone is excited to be moving around the school so freely, but it’s also different from last year.
Students have their lockers and their desks back, they are moving from class to class, and can finally socialize outside of their homeroom bubble. It’s all good, but there is some trepidation because we have forgotten how to socialize with large groups of people; how to engage with others on a team; and how to have fun without worry.
For me, living during a pandemic has made me think a lot about my own fears and the way I live my life. Yes, I still want to be cautious and do everything I can to stay healthy and safe, but I also need to take more risks and have more fun.
Last spring I thought about activities I could do over the summer that would push me a bit out of my comfort zone. In April, I purchased a new bicycle and committed to riding 3-4 times a week in order to complete a 75 km charity bike ride through the Laurentians. I also signed up for The Mud Girl Run which just took place on September 18. This was a 5 km run with 16 obstacles, mostly in the mud. I had committed and purchased my ticket back in May because I didn’t want to back out. As the day approached, my nerves kicked in and I started to doubt myself and my abilities.
That day, thousands of women of all shapes and sizes, ability, and fitness levels completed the mud girl run while fundraising for women's cancers and honouring those who are battling it. I’m proud that I took part in this event even though I most likely won’t do it again… it was very muddy!
We are constantly telling our students that they can be and do anything they want and we truly believe that. The challenging part is getting students to believe that and understand that they have the ability to change their mindsets.
It can be very difficult for our students to accept the new reality that we live in. They are worried about performing well on a test, getting on the soccer team, being well liked at school and staying healthy.
COVID has thrown a wrench into our plans and it lives at the back of our minds, but I am constantly reminding our students that they need to at least try new things, get out of their comfort zones, and put themselves out there.
According to Carol Dweck, those with a fixed mindset believe that their character, intelligence, and other abilities cannot change, and those with a growth mindset see failure as a way to grow and improve. These mindsets are created from a very young age and determine our relationships with success and failure in all areas of our lives, but the good news is that these mindsets aren’t set for life. WE have the ability to train ourselves to change even as adults.
If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that we shouldn’t take anything for granted and live life to the fullest. I don’t want to have any regrets and I don’t want our students to have any either. The high school experience has lots of ups and downs, but those are what makes us who we are. I would hate for anyone to miss out because of fear.