A Teen’s World: Being A Student During The Pandemic

Justin Burrous, Writer

One thing we can all agree on, since the beginning of the pandemic, is that adapting to change is difficult. The expectations on top of the change is even more overwhelming. It feels like just yesterday that I was a sophomore with nothing but time on my hands to plan for my future, now I am a senior graduating in less than four months, with not much of my future planned out. Planning for your future is stressful enough, but with the added stress of adapting to changes within the school, and facility while trying to make this school year like a normal school year before quarantine, feeling stressed out is an understatement.

This school year is the most ‘normal’ school year we have had since the start of the pandemic, but things still are not normal. The student body is tired. We are having to readapt to the routine of school, again and again, constant mask mandate changes, quarantine procedure changes, and the worry of if we will be in-person classes or online classes. School will never be the same after COVID.

I think we can all agree that this school year’s burnout has been worse than in prior years. The student body, as well as the faculty, is tired and burnt out. The student body is feeling the stress of having to continue to be a student, get their work done and turned in on time, maintain good grades, keep attendance up.  We also have the added stress that COVID-19 has added with having to worry about what might be next, whether we will be online or in person, what the next quarantine procedures will be, or what the next mask mandate will come along. Along with the student body, the faculty is having to deal with their normal duties such as creating lesson plans, grading work, teaching lessons along with the stress COVID-19 has added with having to worry whether the school will be in person or online, having to have backup digital lesson plans, and having to enforce new mask rules as well as quarantine procedures. This year’s burnout is not only affecting students but staff as well, and it happened earlier than it usually does. 

Just because things are different this year and might seem quite dark and seemingly endless, this school year has been as close to a normal school year that we have had in a while. For starters, we were able to hold school sporting events, hold a pep rally outside, and even get something similar to the well-known “Power Hour.” Even though this school year might not seem normal for some, this might have to be the new norm. Some of these events were things I got to experience my freshman year and some of my sophomore year but were stripped away with the start of COVID-19. It is amazing that some of the younger grades get to experience those things, even if they are not to the extent that they used to be because they are memories you will relive forever when you think back to your high school years.

I believe that the worst time to be in school during COVID-19 is high school. High school students are doing more than just learning different curriculum than younger students, but are also having to plan for their futures, apply for colleges, apply for scholarships, work their part-time jobs, keep up with their friends as well as their school year. Being under so much pressure as is, high school students are having an even harder time doing these tasks with the added pressure that COVID19 has added.
High school is also supposed to be the time when students ‘rebel,’ party, go out on drives, stay out late, and have the time of their lives. High school is when many begin to free themselves from their parents and become their own independent selves, but with COVID, the parties are smaller, there are no fun places to hang out with your friends, and driving around gets boring after a while. I feel like my class got a small taste of what it was like to live those high school years before they were abruptly taken away when COVID-19 started.

A lot of the younger students, those who have not experienced what high school is truly about, and now that I am about to enter college, I am feeling the same way. What if I don’t get to experience the true college experience? I feel like since the majority of my high school career has been stripped from me, I should at least get to experience what college is like, to its fullest extent. I feel like a lot of this year’s seniors feel the same way. Not only do we have the stress of school and most have the stress of a job, but we have the stress of planning out the rest of our future. I and a lot of others are wondering where all the time went. Where the time went for planning what we want to study later in life, what type of career we want to pursue, what college we want to go to. Now that that time is quickly approaching, the majority of us feel overwhelmed and clueless about where to begin.

I believe that there is a lot of pressure, fear, and stress involved with this school year, more than a lot of the years before. It is okay to feel overwhelmed, stressed, confused and scared because everyone is in the same boat. Everyone has a lot of the same fears. Those feelings are valid and are important feelings.

One good thing I believe has come out from the pandemic, is how normal mental health issues are not as frowned upon. I feel like there are many more resources readily available now than there were beforehand for those who need the help. Even though mental health within our school system still has some room for improvement, with the help of the youth service center, there are more resources within our school and more available than ever before. This is important because the belief that quarantine as well as the pressure of the past two school years have really caused or brought out a lot of mental health crises in students and more help and resources need to be available to those who need it, not just in school but outside as well.

I feel like we all hope that we can get back to normal, or honestly as close to normal, of a school year as we can as soon as possible, without the fear of change, overcoming challenges, and the overwhelming feeling we are all facing. In order to do so, the protocols to keep COVID-19 under control need to be followed in order to keep it from spreading and mutating like it currently is.

I believe that the only word to describe this school year would be overwhelming. Now, this feeling is valid, and even if you aren’t feeling this way, many of your peers are. Everyone is trying their best, and your best is all that you can give. Just take it day by day and remember we are all in the same boat. Some days are easier than others and some are more difficult than others, and it is so important to recognize that you are doing the best that you can and give yourself the break you deserve when you need it  With the cooperation (?) of yourself as well as others, we can try and get back to a normal way of school as quickly as possible because we can all agree that we are ready!