by Zette Saquian
We have been through a lot of struggles since the beginning of the year 2020. Calamities and destruction have been haunting us — challenging our faith and strength to move forward each day. This year hasn’t even ended and there are still possible undesirable events that might occur. Events that are just lurking in the dark waiting for a trigger. It’s getting harder each day to live and adjust to the new normal due to limited employment and especially insufficient cash to provide for the family. As the year slowly envelopes our country into hardships and sorrow, another factor has been mentally challenging individuals, in this case – students. Due to the danger of the virus, the means of educating students took another turn to a more difficult and stressful way.
Due to the stress building up with no one to turn to and having no one who could understand, students are starting to escape reality by giving up, by letting go and leaving everything behind. These mentally and emotionally exhausted individuals have committed suicide due to the pressure and stress building inside their minds and slowly torturing them which led to their eventual demise. With no one to help them and no one who could save them, they gave up. Innocent lives are wasted because of these complex systems and the threat of the virus. Some say that these cases are untrue, but some have testified and stated facts about the incidents. The number of suicide and mental breakdowns these past few weeks is slowly increasing which is alarming and should be taken seriously. Don’t let another life go to waste. Academic freeze is what some of the students are asking for, but it’s not really necessary because they have a choice, it’s not mandatory to enroll if you think that it’s not good for you. You have the choice to put things into a temporary stop before moving forward. Yes, this educational system will put these students to safety, but are they mentally prepared enough to adjust to this abruptly?
Most of the students before would ask to just have their classes be done at home or even lack the motivation to go to school for certain reasons that they only know. Now that one of their desires has suddenly been fulfilled, did it bring them any good or did it turn out worse for them? Let’s admit it, it costs a lot more to invest in online classes or even modular ones because not everyone can afford to purchase the needed equipment for learning. Not to mention the cost of the data needed to access the internet. Another thing that makes this even difficult to accomplish is the intermittent network signal from internet service providers, especially on locations that could barely even produce any reliable signal to access the internet. Now, these factors are invisibly stressing and bombarding every student’s mind. The frustration and mental fatigue are barely observed by the people around them.
Those were just some of the minor things that could drive a student to mental instability. But what are the main or major reasons why students tend to lose their sanity and choose to escape this dilemma depressingly? Numerous workloads, due dates, and being inconsiderate for genuine reasons. Yes, some may say that these students may have unacceptable excuses for why they couldn’t submit their activities on time, but what about those students who were just being honest? Do we really have to generalize just because some of the students are just plain old making excuses to laze around and ignore their activities? Isn’t that a bit harsh for the students who were genuinely doing their best even though it was already beyond their mental capacity just to be able to submit their answers? This may sound a bit biased, but it’s just the mere fact especially if you would try to be empathetic to those students. It’s not easy trying to learn something new without the proper guidance from a teacher.
Modules? Online workloads? It all becomes a requirement. A requirement just to pass, but where is the knowledge from these? Was there anything that these students actually learned? Not every student can be guided by their parents or relatives because they also have to earn a living to get through each day. It’s sad to see that these students are trying their hardest just to learn something that is beyond what they could perceive on their own, the pile of lessons and activities they must accomplish on time. Some of these students could barely answer every module due to exhaustion and hopelessness, and all they could ever do is to cry it out. People may have different opinions on this situation, but we should also remember that not everyone has the same mental and emotional capacity as everyone else. If it’s easy for you, it might not be easy for them and vice versa. We shouldn’t compare everyone’s mental capabilities just because we see things easy for us. Not everyone is the same as you. Not everyone can become someone like you because we are all different. You don’t need to judge them, you just have to encourage them instead. A simple act of empathy and understanding could help them get through it. If you have any knowledge of the lessons they are trying to figure out, then help them. Don’t let them suffer just because you had to go through hardships in the past as well. Remember, you learned that lesson in a normal education system, and they are learning it in a difficult and complicated way. Instead of comparing them to what you’ve been through why don’t you try listening and helping them out? You won’t lose anything, you could even save a life if you just try being considerate.
Speaking of considerations, this plays another role in making things difficult for students. A teacher’s job is to educate, understand, and help his or her students, especially nowadays that it’s quite hard for the students to learn and accomplish the given tasks. Patience and consideration are significant during these times of hardships. Not everyone can do the tasks right away due to reasons may it be personal or internet issues, and it’s the teacher’s job to be considerate and understanding with regards to his or her students’ problems. The problem is that some of the teachers prefer to be strict rather than be considerate. They always point out that the students already know what it means to take the class and that they’ve agreed to it and shouldn’t make any excuses if they’re not able to do the tasks given to them. Which is a bit inconsiderate since every student wants to learn and continue their studies even if it means going through this type of learning. Just because they weren’t able to do the activity on time doesn’t mean they never did it or never tried to do it. Put in mind that a student has several subjects enrolled and each subject may have more than three activities to answer, so it’s not just about lazing around, it’s the exhaustion and stress with the workload and internet problems which are hindering them to finish them on time. Asking for help from a teacher is an option, but we should all admit it, it’s not that easy to just chat or text the teacher. Some of the students are not confident enough to contact and ask their teachers for help. Students can come up with excuses to skip their responsibilities, and yes it might be an irresponsible thing, but people get tired of routines. We all get tired, and we even make excuses to just skip out on our responsibilities as well. Everyone gets tired and everyone needs rest for a bit or even awhile. We should try to be more considerate rather than just focusing on the foolishness of other students.
Dr. Jose P. Rizal once said, “Kabataan, Pag-asa ng ating bayan”, but how will they become the hope of the future if at a young age they’ve already given up before even realizing what’s more to life than just studies? How will they see what their future holds if they’ve already cut the line and let despair drown them? How will they learn what it means to be alive if they chose death? Yes, they are the hope and key of the future, and it’s up to us to guide them and understand them. As time goes by and the world continues to change, it’s our responsibility to guide the future generation and help them understand what it’s like to be alive especially right now during the pandemic.
Suicide is not the answer and will never be the answer. It’s just a temporary escape from reality and what truly awaits is something more than what they’ve been through. If you choose to end your life then think about the people who care about you. Think about the things you will miss out on if you give up. Think about the things you could still discover and experience. Think about your dreams and plans for the future. Think about the people who paid a lot just to continue living. Think about the people who are suffering greatly but chose to go on. Think about yourself, is it really worth giving up life in that way? We can never truly say we’re living if we don’t experience pain and hardships. It’s a phase that we should go through to grow and become stronger. Don’t let sorrow and pain drown you. Don’t let it defeat you, don’t let it drag you down. You’re not alone, there will always be people who will help you and understand you. You don’t need to give up. It’s still a long run, a run full of fun and challenges. A journey that you choose to partake. A life that you choose and a future waiting for you. Whatever challenges you may face, never give up. If you’re tired, then pause and rest. If you’re ready, continue. It shouldn’t be a period whenever you feel like everything is against you. All you have to do is stand up, pray, and replace that period with a semicolon and continue with life. We all have our turning points in life. A point where we have to make crucial decisions, it may be hard, but there will be people who will support you in every endeavor and challenges you may encounter. Most importantly, God will never forsake you. He will never leave you and He will always guide. You just have to be strong and pray. There is always another day.
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken” – Psalms 34:17-20