The jump from junior high to senior high is special, marking the beginning of a new adventure for juniors. There are more opportunities to meet a variety of new faces, the campus becomes noticeably larger, and a wide set of responsibilities are entrusted. What was supposed to be a fresh start for many upcoming juniors became an experience that was anxiety inducing, as the pandemic shifted the basis of everyday life.
“I was most excited to get into a more college-like environment, with more difficult classes and other clubs,” Ian Yang said. “But COVID-19 has made my experience a lot more difficult.”
Yang was among the group of students who dreamed of the maturity that came with starting college level classes, a goal that was not completely achieved this year.
“Most of the time I am not even at school,” Yang said. “The online portion of school [is] like 90 percent of learning, and I am usually bad at keeping up [since] it is difficult to adjust to.”
Not only do online classes take away the benefits of face-to-face interactions, but it is also geared towards self-learning, which makes it difficult for a handful of students who learn better through lectures.
“I think the biggest challenge is definitely my classes,” Celeste Colon said. “We are not really learning anything because we are just rushing to get work done.”
Colon even mentions that although teachers might speculate the higher chances of students cheating, sharing information among students is not the main problem to be considered.
“We have become almost like robots,” Colon said. “Clicking [the] turn in [button], so we can be counted present, not even bothering to actually learn the material.”
Aside from the academic disadvantages, there were other aspects of the hybrid schedule that have impacted the social opportunities of juniors.
“I was excited to become a junior because of the liberty of going out for lunch,” Colon said. “Not all of my friends [are] here to experience it with me [since] some are in the M-Z cohort and some are at home.”
There is no precedent to the type of situations students are faced with in the midst of the pandemic, making it harder for juniors to adjust than seniors, who already have a year’s worth of experience in Senior High.
“I wish that schools would be able to provide more,” Yang said. “[Regarding] information or reminders in order to keep everyone up to date more frequently.”
Juniors wish for the situation with the pandemic to become better in order to transition back to face-to-face school fully.
“I hope a cure for the disease comes soon so that the world can go back to normal,” Colon said. “I want to ensure the safety of others before we open up the school more.”