This past year and a half has just passed by. A year in which we sort of just floated as if we’re frozen in time. We changed, not just physically but mentally. We had to learn to watch out for these tiny variants that no one realized could pose a potential challenge to us. I can’t even fathom how this atrocious scenario happened.
Many students will be going back to school this upcoming fall. For rising tenth graders, it will be their first time in the building since middle school. It’s going to be their first normal day of high school, whatever normal is anymore.
Ninth grade did not feel like your typical high school year. An entire virtual first year of high school is not how it should go. Everything changed once that happened, so is it fair to really consider it was your “first year” of high school? School was not the priority, what was going on at home was.
In addition, some kids had an advantage at home and others didn’t. Some kids had to deal with distractions from siblings and a lack of technology while others didn’t. For example, I had to help my little sister with her homework on top of having to do my own. That meant occasionally I had to sit through kindergarten classes and ninth grade classes simultaneously. Covid had the power to expand all of our to-do lists and raise our stress hormones.
Kids need that physical classroom space to be able to really connect with each other. High school without those vital personal connections between peers and teachers does not work. We need to be able to physically walk up to the white boards and touch the desks, sit in the chairs and have the teachers see our faces and hands raised, not an emoji or profile picture. In a way this past year has been like what I imagine home schooling to be like. Students need to socialize to grow strong and healthy bonds with other students and their professors and teachers.
When sophomores go back to school this year, it will be a different experience. They will have attended two entirely different high schools. Physically walking back into our schools will reopen many doors for us, allowing us to thrive once again. Extracurricular activities will open up and the college process will replace the stress of Covid, becoming sophomores’ first priority.
These transitions aren’t all bad in my opinion. It may not seem that way from the naked eye. If you take one step forward to take a closer look, you can see how this pandemic has really taught us something to reckon with. Never take anything for granted.
Society has already begun to open back up again. As parents go back to work and events get organized, my view has changed on what once was. I am nervous to go back to school. I was never nervous before when having to go to school, but having this long term vacation from the physical classroom space made me more aware and anxious to go back.
We have adjusted to this virtual reality just to have to re-adjust again when we go back in person. It is going to be tough to ease back into what once was, but we can do it. We just have to remember how strongly we were able to navigate our lives just a few yesterdays ago. We are creatures with the ability to adapt and face anything that is thrown at us. I have faith we could get through yet another transition.