Senior year is supposed to be the best year of high school, marking the entry into college and adulthood. However, instead of being able to enjoy her last year of high school, senior Lauren Loveless is stuck at home amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“My mind has been all over the place during this pandemic, however, if I had to name one thing I’ve taken away from this experience, I’d say it’d be how I’ve realized just how much we take for granted,” Loveless said. “Every day before the pandemic, we’d go outside without fear and treat the world like our oasis; uncaring and level-headed. But now, this pandemic has taught us that no matter how much we wish it [were] true, we are not invincible and that the human body is incredibly fragile.”
Despite having her senior year hampered by the current pandemic, Loveless says that the stay-at-home quarantine has positively impacted her.
“I might sound shallow saying this, but I think it’s affected my life in a fairly positive way. Although I truly miss seeing my friends and going out to restaurants and such, I am loving the aspect of online schooling,” Loveless said. “I’ve always struggled with anxiety and a pretty nasty chronic condition, so this is honestly kind of nice. Also, it’s given me a lot of time to myself and working to improve my habits.”
Although her senior year has begun to fall apart, online school has been helping Loveless to work at her own pace.
“Online school has been helping me tremendously, it has allowed me to set my own pace and not be forced to adhere to class periods systematically. Moreover, I think my grades are doing better since tests and quizzes are less frequent and we’re given more time to complete them,” Loveless said. “Although I think it’s relatively much easier, I’m grateful for it and I see it as more of a perk to quarantine than a punishment. I mean, obviously I’m sad that senior year is kind of being destroyed, but I’m not really devastated.”
Resources are available for students to help them cope with the current crisis.
“This is such a unique time. We are all navigating these uncharted waters together and I don’t know that anyone knows how to specifically prepare for it. I think we grow and adapt as we work through these challenges. We find ways to cope and be resilient in times of adversity,” head counselor Courtney Tarbox said. “As counselors, we always try to encourage positive coping strategies for our students and equip them with skills to handle the stress and anxiety that comes with events like this. We share SEL (Social Emotional Learning) resources through our weekly Virtual Guidance newsletter and special classes a few times throughout the school year.”
School administration has been dealing with challenge after challenge in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“Keeping communication accurate and consistent with 3,155 students and their parents/guardians was the initial challenge,” principal Gary Comalander said. “Now the biggest challenge is trying to provide our seniors with the best experience possible for their final nine weeks.
After the pandemic ends, plans will be created if something like this happens in the future.
“After the closure is over, we will meet and discuss positives and negatives from what we have done,” Comalander said. “From this, we will make plans that will have us better prepared if we ever go through this type of event again.
As for whether life would go back to normal again, Loveless said it was hard to even remember what normal used to be.
“Normal? What even is normal anymore. It’s hard to imagine everything going back to whatever normal we had before this pandemic. Everyone is just so on edge right now, so to think about going to a movie theater without feeling anxious is strange,” Loveless said. “I definitely think somethings will be different, I’m just having a difficult time thinking about what could possibly be so different in the future. I keep getting asked how I think things will be, but I can’t really say. All I know is that things are certainly not going to be the same.”