As the school year comes to an end, one must reflect on how different this year has been from any other. It seems that school next year will be back to normal, as the public begins to get vaccinated and schools across the country begin to re-open. Current seniors are excited to attend their first year of college in person, and underclassmen are able to finish highschool somewhat more normally. Looking back on this complicated and confusing year reveals the different ways each of us have lived through it. The pandemic and online school affect everyone differently, not just depending on one’s grade, but also how they are able to learn.
As a senior, I was upset that the social part of my year was taken away from me, and like many people, I felt that applying to colleges and keeping up my grades were much more difficult under such circumstances. Personally, I had trouble focusing during class, I was late on many assignments, I felt less involved, and I was overall experiencing burnout as soon as the first quarter. Talking recently to a coworker of mine who is in college, I realized how some people felt entirely differently. She explained to me how the extra time for homework made it much easier for her and that homework gave her structure in her daily life. Many of my friends seemed to feel like they could get things done quickly and that classes were generally easier, while I struggled to finish assignments I normally could complete easily. On a more rare occasion, some people even thrived under distance learning and did not want to go back to in person school.
After the ending of the previous school year, which I personally finished off horribly, I was hoping to be more prepared for the coming year, especially with a regular Zooms schedule. I told myself that I would not use my phone or listen to music in class, use asynchronous time for work, and turn things in on time. I ended up dropping my math class and slowly descending into a cycle of late work and makeup tests. Applying for college was a whole other struggle, as I did not know if I could maintain my grades for the rest of high school. Even to this day I still turn things in at the last moment, desperately trying to keep my grades up. I do not know how many people felt the same way as I did all year, but looking forward, I am just waiting for it to be over. To those whose year was the easiest school term they have ever had and to those who have barely made it through, it is only one year. As we move on with our lives, we will learn to leave behind any of the effects it may have had.