Students adjust to a new way of learning

March 23, 2021

High school students have experienced many changes in the past year. They have faced multiple revised class schedules, a new sports schedule, club cancellations, and many Zoom classes. With these changes, students have had to adapt to new ways to learn in class and new ways to take part in clubs and activities.

Paige Friedlander

On March 13, 2020, the superintendent announced to students and parents that all schools in District 204 were closing. This message began remote learning for students. It also led to a lot of uncertainty about what was to come for the rest of the school year. 

“At first, I was excited to hear that we got out of school, and I was thinking we would be coming back,” junior Nia Lewis said. “I really did not know what was going to happen, so I was really shocked when the school changes began.”

With the closing of schools, many academic events were canceled or postponed. This included standardized testing, such as the SAT and ACT, college preparedness opportunities, and alterations and delays for AP tests.

“The SAT was canceled,” senior Aimun Anwer said. “As a junior, it was more the things that I needed for college that were canceled. There was a lot of college informative stuff that was supposed to happen, but it didn’t, so I was completely left in the dark regarding college applications.”

Along with academic events, clubs and activities were abruptly ended. The variety show, end-of-year celebrations, and extracurricular state competitions are a few to name. The spring sports season was also canceled.

Overall, I’m trying to make the most of it. I just want it to be a year that I can look back on in the future and know that I lived through a pandemic as a senior in high school.

— Aimun Anwer

“I made varsity on the high school softball team, and obviously I was not able to play last year,” Lewis said. “That was disappointing because I missed out on that opportunity.”

The start of the 2020-2021 school year was delayed to Sept. 3 and began fully remote. Students had to adjust to a new school schedule that would change multiple times throughout the semester. Online learning was an adjustment for students who were not used to this format.

“Because of remote learning, I am not doing as well as I did last year,” Lewis said. “My GPA is dropping a bit, but I hope I can get it up this year through more in-person learning.”

This experience was different for each grade. Freshmen had to adapt to a new school as well as this new form of learning. 

“I was excited going into freshman year, but it was disappointing to be online,” freshman Atma Patel said.

Seniors who had their junior year cut short were making up for their missed testing. The in-school SAT that would have taken place in April was postponed to Sept. 23. College applications were another impactful part of the senior’s first semester.

“Thankfully, I have older siblings who are already familiar with the application process, and they were able to help guide me,” Anwer said. “Without their help, I probably wouldn’t know when I needed to get stuff done, how to get it done, and more.”

As the second semester began, seniors have focused their attention on senior annual events. Talk of having a prom, a graduation ceremony, and other notable events have become a conversation amongst students and staff. 

“I did not think we were going to have a prom because we didn’t have a homecoming, but I heard that there was talk about having a modified prom,” senior Nickolas Bounds said. “That makes me excited. I also know that there is going to be a graduation ceremony, so there is a lot to look forward to.”

Many students are hopeful that the rest of the school year will be more consistent. They are also eager to see what the upcoming years will bring. 

“I hope that for the rest of this year and next year we are able to return to a sense of normalcy,” Patel said. “I hope that I can actually meet people and make connections with kids in my grade and teachers. I want to try new things and branch out, so I hope we can return to school.”

This past year has been full of uncertainty and change. Many have had to adapt to a new way of living and learning in a pandemic. 

“Overall, I’m trying to make the most of it,” Anwer said. “I just want it to be a year that I can look back on in the future and know that I lived through a pandemic as a senior in high school. There’s only a few percent of people in this whole country or this whole world that can say that.”

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