For American students, the high school experience has always been glorified in coming-of-age movies, TV shows, and songs about how limited our years of youth are. This year’s remote learning plan has made it difficult for students to imagine themselves living out a psychically interactive experience with their classmates, and it can be draining to think about memories that could have been made at Lane. Moreover, it can be difficult trying to find the positivity within all of the chaos that has and will unravel this year.
This school year, it will be hard for students to transition to an online learning experience for the entirety of the year. It will be a challenge trying to get to know the students in your classes as well as a challenge for the teachers to get to know their students.
All 4,000 of Lane’s students are in this bubble of uncertainty for the school year. Many students, including myself, will be struggling with motivation, concentration and connection to their classmates. In a couple of weeks, frustration will be an understatement when describing the school year.
Students and staff should allow themselves to feel frustrated and defeated just as they would regardless of how classes are being taught this year. Students and staff should allow themselves to wish circumstances were different, even though there is nothing they can do about it now.
Students and staff should remember that this is only a temporary situation. CPS students are learning through online classes this year for the greater good, and it is one step closer to the end of this pandemic.
Though remote learning is for the greater good, it doesn’t negate the impact that it’s had on students’ learning experience. Over the summer, I often found myself reminiscing about the “year that could’ve been.”
As someone in Lane’s graduating class of 2021, my senior year has always seemed like the most rewarding year of the four, after weaving through a newfound independence freshman year, getting the hang of the high school experience sophomore year, the pressure of junior year, there is, at last, the relief of senior year. With senior year comes the excitement and the stress of planning a future and trying to make the most out of the last year that you’ll have before you chase after said planned future. Witnessing traditions such as the senior prank, ditch day, Decision Day, and prom as an underclassman has made me look forward to participating in them for my final year of high school. Now, it will be a new and different experience carrying these traditions on through Google Classroom.
As a senior, I think of everything my graduating class will miss out on and it brings such a bittersweet feeling. As it’s my final year of high school, remote learning has been a reminder to appreciate the circumstances I am content with because of how quickly things can change. Something as consistent as school changed so quickly.
A pandemic wasn’t something that I anticipated having to experience in my lifetime. I wasn’t prepared to finish my junior year online, to have to reduce my summer activities to stay as safe as possible, and I wasn’t prepared for this pandemic to become my new normal.
This school year will be a time of self-reflection, the school year that each student makes it out to be. Students will have more time to get to know themselves better, and as a senior, I have one more year to figure myself out before I go to college and am faced with a new environment to grow into.
Rather than wishing I would be practicing for I-Days in the winter, I’ll be grateful I don’t have to take an hour-long train ride to school and back home every day. Rather than wishing I was sitting by the lockers before first period with my friends, I will be grateful I won’t have to walk around the school in a clueless fashion to find my classes for that year. Rather than wishing I was taking in-person classes this year, I will be grateful that I have access to online classes and learning tools, and I will be grateful to myself and my classmates for taking these next steps towards the end of the pandemic.
Rather than letting myself be consumed by the negatives of our new average school day, I will refocus this energy into an appreciation for the smaller things that make our new circumstances worthwhile. It’s not how I expected my senior year to go, but now it will be my definition of looking at things as the glass is half-full.
While it is understandable that CPS is taking the remote learning approach due to the rising COVID-19 case numbers in Illinois, it doesn’t take away the fact that students are losing special experiences this school year. Negative feelings towards remote learning are justified, but it is important to remember that an approach to the pandemic is out of the hands of students. The best thing to do is to maintain proper social distancing guidelines this school year and wear a mask.