Balancing School and Family and Family Members’ School

First published in June 2021 at

Balancing School and Family and Family Members School

Renalee C., 2021 Senior

One obstacle that I have experienced during the pandemic was balancing school and family responsibilities. This was a big obstacle that I faced because it was hard to stay focused in my classes while taking care of my brothers. Not only was it hard to focus in my live classes, but watching my brothers held me back from completing my assignments on time, especially in recent months.

When the pandemic started, I remember schools in New York City had to shut down because cases were increasing and too many people were in close contact with each other. At first, I didn’t put much thought into school shutting down because I saw it as a vacation, but when I learned that classes would resume online I knew that this would affect my brother who was in kindergarten at the time.

I have two brothers: Adrian, who is three, and Julian, who is five. My daily schedule consists of getting ready for school at seven and then getting my brothers ready. After I brush their teeth and get them ready, I take them upstairs to feed them breakfast before my brothers and I start classes. When classes start, I usually log into my class but shift right away to help Julian with his lessons because his classes are very interactive. And while I help him, I also have to peek over to see what Adrian is doing because he touches everything he sees. So my day is really me going back and forth between my classes and their classes, because my parents work during the day..

In addition, this has put a pause on my mental health because I’m so used to attending to my brothers that I haven’t been able to practice self care. By the end of the day, when I feed them dinner and give them a bath, I’m exhausted and I take a shower and go right  to sleep. And this has correlated with me taking a long time to submit assignments because I don’t feel motivated, nor do I have the energy to do my work anymore.

Taking on the responsibility of watching my brothers while being in school online has been one of the hardest obstacles that I have faced. I can only imagine how hard it is for other teens that are going through what I’m going through or even worse. However, from this experience, I have learned that patience goes a long way. There are times that I get really frustrated but know that I can’t do anything about it but wish for the best. Hopefully this pandemic will be over soon so that we can all go back to our normal, or somewhat normal, lives and live without the fear of catching any respiratory virus like Covid.