Opinion: How I used school as a suppressant

Shravani Page | Staff Writer

While a 3-week break in March sounded fantastic at the time, quarantine sunk in quickly, at least for me.

I realized that school was somewhat a drug for me. No, not the ones that make you feel a “rush” but instead a sense of resistance or restrainment. 

According to good-old Google, a suppressant is defined as “a drug or other substance which acts to suppress or restrain something.” 

I used school to restrain myself from dealing with my problems. School was my excuse. It took up so much of my life as I tried to involve myself as much as I could under the idea of being the “perfect” student. 

That is not the perfect student. On top of that, I couldn’t really blame anyone since I made my schedule that way. I really screwed myself over in JUST my sophomore year. 

My life centered around school as it provided me a sense of stability. But once school was taken away, I suddenly had to face my problems head-on. 

Managing my mental health has been something I have struggled with since 7th grade, but it never had taken such a gigantic toll on my life since the start of quarantine. COVID-19 hit at probably the worst point in time for me as I was in-between stages of anxiety, depression, and grief. 

Currently I’ve been late and absent to school a lot even though I opted to come in-person. The number of days of school I’ve missed over the past 4 years is equal to the number of days I’ve missed within these first three weeks. 

To be honest, I really do love coming to school. I love to learn and I think it’d be awesome to know everything in the world even though I know it’s impossible. Plus, my friends are literally some of the best people in the world. But now, it’s become really hard for me because the underlying problems I suppressed then now overpower my motivation and ability to show up to school and learn.

For a long time I blamed myself, then the pandemic, and then myself again. Whenever school started back up this year I felt like I couldn’t communicate with people. In a school with thousands of kids, I still felt displaced and almost sought increased isolation, which is super weird if you know me.

I recently realized that the focus should never have been on the blaming or ‘who caused it.’ All I know now is that it is up to me to fix. I decided to get help, reach out, so hopefully, I can get my shit together. 

So maybe I am not ready to open up yet and give more detail, but that’s definitely a goal for me. I learned that school shouldn’t be a suppressant, but rather a piece of my life that allows me to become the best version of myself. But in order for that to happen, I need to change.