The year was a rollercoaster, but at least the ride is over

This school year has been awful, to put it mildly. So much has been demanded of our teachers, students, and parents. We have been faced with many unique challenges, some of which brought us to our breaking point.

I for one, could not be happier for the year to come to a close. Like many other students, I have been pushed to my limits and beyond. I don’t think that I have ever longed for summer break more than I have this year.

If I were to sum up this year in two words, I would choose: trial run. In hindsight, that’s all this year really was. It was one big experiment to see how we could make the most out of a difficult situation.

In the beginning, I started out my freshman year of high school feeling indifferent. I had an expectation of what it would be like after wrapping up my last year of middle school in 2020.

The original schedule that we started with split periods into even and odd groups on certain days. It was manageable at first, but as the semester dragged on, I think everyone became sick of it. The periods were way too long, and it was quite confusing to stay on top of it all.

October rolled around and plans were made to return back to in person for 2 to 3 days per week. Just about everyone was excited to return and hopefully stay, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. 

The new learning structure lasted for 2 weeks before it got shut down. Everyone had to retreat to the comfort of their homes to attend the dreaded zoom meetings. I was obviously a little disappointed in my short lived experience of high school, but I still had hope that things would be back to normal in no time. 

Fast forward to mid December when the first semester was coming to an end. Everyone was finally getting a well deserved break. It was liberating to not have school on my mind for 2 weeks.

When the second semester began, I was filled with hope. Knowing that I was half way done with the year along with rumors of returning back in person made me feel excited for the future. I would say that I held onto these feelings of optimism for a few months before finally coming to a realization.

It was nearing the end of January when we returned back in person for hybrid learning 2.0. I was somewhat excited to return, but I realized that there was this creeping feeling of carelessness. The new learning structure didn’t feel like something to look forward to. It felt like another new schedule that I would have to learn to adapt to.

Being in the building around other students was refreshing for a while until it eventually became a norm. At the time, most of my friends were in the blue group or fully remote while I was in the red group, but that didn’t stop me from attempting to meet new people.

I think it was hard to make new friends this year with the lack of socialization opportunities. It was a bit intimidating that the upperclassmen all knew and had history with one another. Having older kids in some of my classes made it difficult to make new friends, but I managed to meet a few new faces.

It was right before Spring Break when I started to feel desolate. Up until that point, I was doing fine in school and staying as positive as I could. Throughout the pandemic, I genuinely believed that I was an introvert. I thought that I was built for a situation like this, but I soon recognized that I am quite the opposite.

Like many, I cannot live without human interaction. I am the kind of person who gets uncomfortable when it’s silent and no one’s talking. I felt overworked by school, but on top of that, I felt lonely.

Hanging out outside of school is fun, but when you have to go through a school day having little interaction with anyone, it makes you feel isolated. I was so close to going back full remote, but I felt determined to give it another week before throwing in the towel.

The red and blue group were going to be combined and in school for 4 days a week excluding Wednesday. On top of that, waitlist kids were being allowed back into the building if they wanted to switch.

I wouldn’t say that things felt normal, but it was definitely a step in the right direction. I was relieved to see some familiar faces back in the building. It was so delightful catching up with all my friends and getting to have face to face conversations.

I am truly thankful for giving in person learning another shot. While I respect and understand anyone’s decision to stay home, I can’t imagine ending a school year over a computer. For me personally, it wouldn’t feel right to end things that way.

With school coming to an end in a matter of days, everyone is eager to kick off their summer plans. I am beyond excited for summer break, because I have driver’s education to look forward to. Like most students, I also plan to hangout with my friends, work a few summer jobs, and enjoy the nice weather.

When the CDC came out with new Covid-19 guidance about not having to wear a mask (if you’re a fully vaccinated individual), it only fueled everybody’s excitement for this pandemic’s end. This was the second time during this pandemic that I felt like things were finally getting back to some form of normalcy. The first time was when vaccines were being developed and distributed.

This year was tough for everyone, some more than others, but as a whole, I’d say we did the best we could. We successfully dealt with just about every obstacle thrown our way, and we did so triumphantly.

I think that every student and staff member should be proud of themselves. Nothing about this year was easy, but we all worked hard to get through it together. We have come such a long way, and  I have no doubt that things will get better with summer approaching and new Covid-19 guidelines.

So with the year ending on a high note along with an uncertain future, we should all take solace in the fact that it’s coming to an end.