Alyson Furstenau ‘21, Photo Editor
The year of 2020 has been a year of adversity to say the least. Each week is met with new challenges, and this has made it immensely difficult for many to keep up—the feeling of constantly trying to stay afloat amidst the crashing of waves. Teenagers, although they may not necessarily feel the pressure of paying their bills or going out of business, have been stripped of what makes their high school years so memorable due to COVID-19. A disconnected school experience for many has been the most difficult obstacle to surpass. It is important to maintain a level of optimism that allows for personal growth, but it is just as important to acknowledge the feeling of disappointment millions of students are currently feeling.
For a freshman going into high school, starting off the year in an online platform has caused a disconnect between the student and the learning environment. How can a student truly feel dedicated to their education when they have not had the opportunity to connect with their peers and/or teachers? Freshman and varsity pom member Ella Argentati said, “Some things that are difficult include not being able to meet new people, and having to learn the material at home by myself.” A traditional school setting not only allows students to be engaged with their learning, but it also motivates them to get acclimated to their school. A freshman who has never set foot in their high school cannot easily build these relationships unless they are already affiliated with a school sports team or club.
But even these connections have been negatively affected by the pandemic. Argentati said, “Even though the pom team can perform at games, there is no real student section. The Friday night football experience just isn’t the same because of it.” As the year progresses with the end of the pandemic nowhere in sight, students are eagerly waiting for normalcy.
For many students, the quality of their education relies on their ability to have face-to-face conversations with their peers and teachers. Having to rely on a computer screen and a list of online assignments has caused students to feel unmotivated; assistance from teachers and peers is not as easily accessible as it was in person. Senior Brendan Krause said, “It has been more difficult to get help from classmates and teachers, which has been a true burden on my learning experience.” It can be reasonably said that students are now understanding the privilege that is attending school. Human connections are a necessity that a web camera cannot replace. Nothing compares to real life, in-person schooling.
As the end of 2020 is slowly approaching, it is sad to say that most of the year has been spent sitting in front of a computer screen. Fortunately, many schools are transitioning into hybrid or full-time schedules where students can have the opportunity to connect with their learning environment, but until the pandemic has reached its end, millions of students will be dreaming of the day when their lives can finally return to normal again.