Editorial by Allie Reardon
As the leaves change colors and the weather gets colder, the nation’s educational institutes are headed towards their fall breaks. For the first time, I am approaching this break with a strange mix of emotions. Feeling simultaneously like I’ve worked too hard for it to be just a week, and like I don’t deserve it all.
With online schooling starting later than our typical school year would've started, we’re headed into the break with three weeks left in the term when we typically would’ve ended the first term and celebrated with the break. With the break lying at the two-thirds mark instead of the finish line, there is a conflict of tiredness and vigilance within me. I feel as if I have worked two terms over and that it should already be winter break, but at the same time like I have just started my junior year, which is still technically in some ways. The feeling is more likely than not due to the strange hybrid of schooling I have gone through. From strictly online and three different Zoom or Google Meet Calls a day, not counting extracurriculars, and then suddenly the last week of school, a strange hybrid week of a few virtual assignments or not even hearing from my teachers at all the first half of the week, and then boom, back in person, seeing everyone and everything again.
The last week really took the students, staff, and parents through the wringer, which in some ways seems to justify the break. Throw us back in hard and fast, and then give us a week to process and plan for the return. Unfortunately, there is no telling what our return will look like until the eighth comes and we receive our county’s numbers. And while before school started I faced this uncertainty with fear, I’m more tired now. They all say junior year is the hardest anyways, it seems like we’re just playing on Extreme Mode now. I would like to say that we’ve all adapted and that we’ve all been able to overcome the challenges that have come with this year, that everyone can face this new precipice with the same tired acceptance that I’ve adopted, but that’s simply just not true. There are still people worried out of their minds about the school, maybe not about the virus but simply due to all the uncontrollable factors. While the return to school is familiar, it is still new and comes with many more uncertainties in our day-to-day routine than it used to. I wish that we could return to what we all used to consider normal, but unfortunately, we sit here in the new normal, and the new normal is uncertain, uncontrollable, and scary for many individuals involved.
Enough about the future and the uncertainties of it. In my last editorial, I wrote about being scared for the new world of online schooling, and I can now say that while it was tough, and the first week or two was a major adjustment the routine I fell in to was nothing short of comfortable. And yeah, I had issues with my classes, but whether that was due to the online component or other factors, there is no way to tell. I commend every teacher, student, and parent who made it through the start of the new school year like that, and I commend those in MyMeadeOnline who are continuing with it. We all worked hard to adjust and overcome, and I am proud of what we reached in those weeks.
Assuming our numbers stay down, the return to school seems like it will go pretty smoothly. As I mentioned above there are still numerous factors that are out of our control, and the school we are returning to is not the one we left in March, but nonetheless, all the changes have been made for the safety and wellbeing of the students and staff, and it’s just nice to see everyone in person. I missed so much about in-person school, no matter how hard online school tried certain things just didn’t translate. Like my first choir class back in person, or even my first class discussion in AP Lang. Even if the class sizes are smaller it’s still a class, and everyone is together and socializing. There are simply social dynamics that cannot be created through a screen.
Even if I am eager to return completely to In-Person schooling, I am aware that we still have to be cautious, for the safety of ourselves and others. The best thing we can do right now, with all the unknown variables swirling around, is plan. I keep a schedule for every day, I make it the night before and edit accordingly as the day goes along, and I word it so it applies to both online and in-person. Planning and trying to keep a routine even on days where I’m not in school is important to me, and my productivity, this is going to vary from student to student, try your best to find what works for you. Some important thing to remember as we get back into the swing of things is to take care of yourself and to remember to thank those around you. We’re all working hard right now, and it feels nice for that to be acknowledged.