A Dublin High School senior-to-be has created a podcast to address the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on students, especially their mental health, as they deal with the pressures of closed schools, distance learning, college applications, cancellation of standardized testing, limited volunteer opportunities and grades.

“At first, [schools being closed] was a dream come true,” said TeenTalks podcast creator and host Yashvardhan Khaitan. “I didn’t need to get up early to go to school. I could take my classes and do my school assignments in bed.

“But I realized that I was waking up late and missing my [online] classes over time,” he added. “I was losing the grip on my daily tasks. I created this podcast to address my own situation dealing with the pandemic's fallout, later realizing it was bringing me closer to other people in the community who are going through this.”

The weekly podcasts, which debuted June 12 with another Dublin High School senior-to-be, Ibraheem Syed, as Khaitan’s guest, are aimed at both students and their parents. They cover topics such as how to cope with stress and maintain an active routine during the pandemic, how will colleges decide who to admit without SAT scores, why enroll at an out-of-state school if classes will be held online, and how the pandemic might affect a future career.

“This podcast is a great listen,” said Pratham Dalal, another Dublin High School senior-to-be. “It offers a fresh perspective from students who were directly affected by COVID-19. Everyone needs to listen…to understand how young people are dealing with this monumental change. As a student, listening to this podcast makes me realize I am not the only one; other students face the same problem.”

Episodes of TeenTalks are available on platforms such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify.