Students cope with feeling of an incomplete high school experience

Adjusting back to in-person school has been difficult for many students, after “missing out” on almost two long years of school.
The last time seniors had a full, in person year of high school was their freshman year, which is crazy to think about. Are the sophomores even prepared for high school? How do juniors feel about graduating next year?
The whole system feels a little off, and it seems as though we all, teachers, students and their families, have missed big parts of our lives due to COVID.
“I definitely think it was a weird experience. It’s very strange finally seeing the teachers that taught you for a whole year, and not knowing what you’re supposed to say to them,” junior Francessca Gabriel said.
“I still feel like just a freshman last year sometimes, and I think we missed out on so many opportunities. There were odd schedule changes, and some sports and clubs were cancelled, which was upsetting,” Gabriel said.
Most juniors, seniors and sophomores feel like they didn’t get the full high school experience, because so many things that make high school enjoyable had to get moved around, or cancelled.
“It was also tough managing everything online. I’m just happy I got it over with, and I can’t wait to finally graduate next year,” Gabriel said.
Teachers also had to learn how to use different types of technology and find the right strategies to get their students engaged in online learning, which proved to be a challenge.
“Technology wasn’t too much of an issue for me, but attendance and getting kids to participate was,” said learning and disabilities teacher Constance McNair.
“I’m more vocal, and do a lot of things to try and get my kids to engage but all the cameras were off, which made it very difficult to get everyone to interact, but you know, we made it work,” McNair said.
“Then when we switched over some students in person, while others were still online, going back and forth between online and in person kids was challenging.”
At the moment, seniors are the ones feeling the most rushed through their high school experience.
Freshman year was their last complete year of high school, but here they are already preparing to go off to college and looking at post secondary opportunities.
Some seniors are upset about this, yet some are looking at it through an optimistic view.
“I’d say I missed out on my high school experience, but at the same time, not as much as the class of 2021 did,” senior Journee Ward said. “I’m lucky I still get to experience many things they were not able to, like homecoming, prom and football games. I’m glad I got through it, but at times, I still feel like I’m just a sophomore.”
Looking forward into this year, there are still so many big events and important parts of the high school experience that will hopefully stay the same.
It is safe to say that COVID has impacted us all, and blurred our sense of time, but we all got through the toughest times of online learning, and hopefully are adjusting better to our new normal.