Maturity in PPS
2/23/22, Aavin Mangalmurti (Sophomore)
On December 17th, all PPS high school students were required to participate in a mental health and wellness webinar. It’s part of an ongoing effort to address anxiety, depression, and disorders caused by the pandemic. We’ve seen a lot of awareness for many losses during the pandemic–physical wellbeing, mental health, and education–but one equally important yet neglected loss is maturity. Many of us missed key life experiences during the pandemic and did not mentally mature. This means that today’s 6-12th graders are emotionally two years behind.
Low maturity is a minor issue in individuals, but when seen in large groups there are big, tangible effects that we are experiencing now. But what does that mean? Firstly, necessary routines formed before the pandemic have been broken. Many of us are now unable to maintain healthy academic habits. A lot of us have trouble completing work, managing time, and putting away our phones. Secondly, misbehavior. A strong undercurrent of anger probably catalyzed by stress during the pandemic mixed with low staffing, no discipline in classrooms, no mental health counseling, and hormones have led to an large increase in disobedience as well as fights.
Nowadays, it isn’t unusual to see one or two fights a week–all posted on Snapchat and Instagram of course, but it wasn’t always like this. When asked, teachers and upperclassmen reminisce about a time when fights were something they didn’t really have to worry about. Now, some of us try to spend as little time in the hallways as possible for fear of being caught in the middle of one. This problem needs a solution. Threats of suspension and expulsion will help reduce petty fights but are ultimately not the healthiest way to break a trend. The district-wide webinar on December 17th was a step in the right direction, but after asking around it seems almost no one was taking it seriously. That’s frustrating because the district will now feel like they have accomplished something when nothing has changed. We need to invest in mental health counselors for kids who have no one to talk to, schedule mandatory sessions for struggling students, and increase discipline in classrooms. Personalized care will truly help students, and discipline in the classroom will bring us to the pre-pandemic norm. This problem might fix itself in a few years. That would be great! If it doesn’t, we would be lessening the future of a generation.