May 2020 Advice Column: Quarantine Edition


Daniela Castro

Your EICs are back again with more advice! Pictured in a Zoom meeting, from top right: Celeste Abourjeili ’20, Daniela Castro ’20, Cameron Leo ’20, Leann Goldberg ’20, Sofia Mahairas ’20 (Not pictured: Kaitlyn Romanger ’20)

Hey, Bronx Science! We hope that you are all still staying safe and healthy during our continued quarantine. We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone, so we wanted to do a special Quarantine Advice Column. We just wanted to answer some of your questions and help ease some uncertainty that you may have!


The Science Survey’s Editors-in-Chief <3

What are some ways to cope with quarantine? 

Everyone is really struggling with quarantine, as we really have never been in a situation even remotely similar to this. The most important thing to do is recognize that you don’t owe it to yourself or to anyone else to be “productive” during this time. We’re in the middle of a crisis. It’s really harmful to be seeing all these people pushing workout routines or schedules of what is “right” to do during this time, because nothing is and no one knows the right thing to be doing right now. That being said, there are ways to figure out things that will make you happy and healthy during this time. Even though we complain about school schedules, it is important to build some semblance of a routine for yourself just so that the days don’t blur together. That could be something as small as going to sleep at the same time every day. Personally, I decided to take up a workout routine and try getting some exercise every other day because that makes me feel good about myself, but that doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re into art or baking, find ways of fitting those things in at a regular time just so you have something to look forward to every day that stays constant. Also, caring for yourself is so important right now! But, again, that can vary from person to person. Whether it’s listening to music, taking a nap, drawing, watching a movie, cooking, calling a friend, doing a face mask, or any number of other things, you have to take care of yourself however you can! It’s just about finding small things to keep yourself grounded so that you can stay emotionally and physically healthy during this time. I hope this helps, and remember to practice social distancing!

Leann Goldberg ’20, Editor-in-Chief

What are ways to take your mind off of stressful ideas or thoughts? 

It’s important to remind yourself that everyone has stressful thoughts. Simply acknowledging that you’re not alone in your feelings can be very validating and help you avoid feeling bad about being stressed in the first place. With that said, there are a plethora of ways to shift your mind away from stressful thoughts. For example, when I feel stressed, I tend to do activities that make me happy, like playing a sport, baking, reading, writing, or drawing. In stressful times like these, it’s important to immerse yourself in things that make you happy and keep you going. Another important part of taking your mind off of stressful thoughts is to be mindful of those thoughts. Sitting back and acknowledging how you’re feeling (sans judgement) is a really good way to put things into perspective. Usually, when I practice being mindful, I try to listen to the sound of my own heartbeat or some other sound in the room to focus my mind. Yoga is a great way to get into this mindful state if you find meditation boring. Please keep in mind that the way that you choose to deal with stress is completely up to you; these are simply suggestions. At the end of the day, you have a unique control over how you think and respond to your environment, which can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your stress levels. 

—Kaitlyn Romanger ’20, Editor-in-Chief

How do I know if I’m prepared for my AP exams? Is there something that I can do to study more to make sure that I know everything that I need to know? 

The two Advanced Placement exam weeks are always a stressful time but they can be especially so this year; the format and units have changed to accommodate the impact of the  COVID-19 pandemic. However, in my own experience, I have found that the easiest and most effective way to study for any kind of standardized test is through practice problems. The questions are different from last year, but the College Board has released plenty of free study material online and in-depth descriptions of what the exam will require and look like. They even have practice problems in this year’s format in AP Classroom under “Optional Student Practice.” I would say that first, you should concentrate on what to expect during the test and make a study plan from there. In years past, I have mostly just done an overview of each unit (how much I reviewed each unit really depended on how much I struggled on that specific test) with practice questions for each, going back when I needed to. It’s also important to keep calm. You have spent so much time getting ready for this test. You are definitely way more prepared to take it than you think you are! Your method of studying can depend on the subject of the AP exam, but if you’re having problems with specific topics in any of your AP classes, don’t hesitate to contact your teacher with questions or to visit the College Board website here for their online review lessons. Once you are approaching the final days before the test, I would recommend to stop doing a general overview of the subject. Instead, ask many different questions and write down things that you’re having a hard time remembering. Also, remember to check out what units make up most of the exam and concentrate your time on those. Each person has their own optimal methods for studying, so I would recommend sticking to what works for you. Once the day comes, just give it your all. And a big reminder that all APs are open book and open notes this year, so definitely take advantage of that. Good luck!

—Daniela Castro ’20, Editor-in-Chief

How can I stay productive? What are some things to do during quarantine? 

It can be really difficult to stay productive when there’s never anything new to look forward to. I find that taking walks or baths can help me mentally reset and start on a clean slate. Also, when I start my day with a workout, I find that I am much more productive, especially when I do it consistently and get into a flow. The hardest part of being productive is starting. As for working out, there are a lot of great, free resources online including multi-day programs and workout calendars. Just make sure to pick a routine that makes you happy and doesn’t stress you out! Taking up a new hobby that doesn’t feel mentally taxing can also help. Many writers at The Science Survey have written about their new hobbies and things to do. We have articles on being productive, cleaning in quarantine, being a photographer in quarantine, creating podcasts, making coffee, baking, movie lists, Netflix watch lists, music lists, book lists, video game lists, series/movie reviews, Club Penguin and Animal Crossing reviews, YouTube reviews, and more. This should give you plenty of ideas that might work for you! As for getting schoolwork done, every night, I like to make a to-do list of my goals and classwork for the next day. That way, when I wake up, I know what needs to be done and I can get to work straight away. I just check things off as I go, even if I don’t complete everything. Finally, something that helps me adopt a better mentality is going tech-free (I do this once every two weeks). I shut down my phone, put it in a box, and put that away for 24 hours. I still allow myself to use my computer for schoolwork and texting my friends, but not having my phone to grab every time that I get bored has helped me to reconnect with myself and to accomplish some of the tasks that I’ve been putting off for a long time. I hope this helps!

—Celeste Abourjeili ’20, Editor-in-Chief

What is the Bronx Science administration going to do about all of the Spring 2020 senior activities with social distancing in effect?  

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Class of 2020 has been left without many of the in-person senior activities students that had been looking forward to. Events have been canceled, pushed back and moved online. Here is a rundown on how some of these activities will occur in May and June 2020: Our graduation will take place at the original date and time of Friday, June 26th, 2020 at noon, on an online streaming platform that will closely resemble the original celebration but in a virtual format. An in-person prom will occur, but at a later date to be determined, once social distancing regulations are relaxed. When it does occur, the Alumni Foundation has generously offered to pay for the entire prom costs for the  Class of 2020. In addition, through the generosity of the Alumni Foundation and the Parents’ Association, the cost of your senior yearbook (including shipping it home in July to your home) has been fully covered for all seniors. Seniors also received information about the “College Roll Call” video, where seniors proudly announce the college they will be attending next year.  The video will be made by Wolverine TV from a collection of videos that the seniors submit themselves. There will also be a “Senior Montage” celebrating the Class of 2020 from ninth grade through senior year. Seniors are able to submit pictures of their friends and themselves through the years!  The deadline to submit photos through a Google Drive album is May 20, 2020 (check your Bronx Science e-mail for all details).

Even though we won’t be having an in-person graduation, you still have the option of purchasing your cap, gown, and tassel, which you can wear for family photos or keep as a keepsake item. It costs $41 plus tax and will be mailed directly to your house.  If you prefer, you can also purchase only the tassel for $20.20 plus tax. The deadline to place your order is by May 17th, 2020, and you can check your email for the links and more detailed information, or click HERE to order a cap/gown or HERE for a tassel only. 

Other events, such as College Apparel Day, have been moved to social media platforms. Celeste Abourjeili ’20 (and fellow Editor-in-Chief of The Science Survey) started an Instagram account (@bronxscienceseniors) meant to shout out your friends and their colleges as a way to celebrate all of your accomplishments together. 

This might not be the perfect way to end your senior year, but given the Coronavirus pandemic, we have worked tirelessly to make it the best alternative that is possible! The Senior Class of 2020 has been able to stand together and look for creative ways and ideas to commemorate their years at Bronx Science. Congratulations to all seniors! You deserve it!

—Daniela Castro & Sofia Mahairas ’20, Editors-in-Chief

Will students be able to graduate with proper diplomas since the Regents are canceled? 

Yes! While normally you would need to pass your Regents exams in order to graduate, the new regulations will give students an exemption. Instead of passing the exam, you will just need to pass the class itself and receive credit for the class. In addition, anyone who has previously not passed a Regents exam and is retaking the class is also exempt.  The state may possibly provide some exams in August 2020, but they will be optional.

—Sofia Mahairas ’20, Editor-in-Chief