COVID-19 and YHS Seniors

COVID-19 and YHS Seniors

Without a doubt, Covid-19 has impacted our daily lives and put restrictions on what we can do.  Between not being able to see friends and waking up late for online school, this year has been far from normal.  As a YHS senior, I can confidently say it has been very strange.  The college process is long and challenging in and of itself, but now with Covid-19, 12th graders are even more stressed out.  Most seniors find themselves getting excited about going away to college and reinventing themselves.  Others fear every minute of it.  No matter what emotion you find yourself feeling, this really is our last year at the high school (as crazy as that sounds).  Time really does fly when you’re having fun.

When speaking with the class of 2021 Salutatorian Dylan Beck, I received some interesting feedback on the current issue.  Beck will be attending MIT in the fall, but the process leading up to that decision has not been easy.  He told me that he was able to visit some schools his junior year, which was great since mostly all of the tours are now virtual.  “I love my family but I definitely do not want to be home again for another year,” Beck said when answering my question about whether or not he wanted to stay close to home.  Obviously, with social distancing requirements and precautions in place, people can’t greet others the same way.  Beck expressed that he missed the whole aspect of school the most and added, “you can’t just go up to someone and like dap them up, you know, you have to just socially distance.”  Not only has Covid-19 put restrictions on academics but it also prohibits physical contact with friends.

Elaina Ornstein (another YHS senior) is committed to SUNY Cortland for softball and talked with me about her experience this year.  She started out by explaining her tour at the school: “We couldn’t go into any classrooms and there were some buildings we couldn’t go into.  We had to wear masks and it was just a lot of walking.”  Similar to many other seniors’ college tours, Elaina’s experience was simply “weird.”  Ornstein further explained that “everyone’s going through the same thing.”  No matter what your plan is for next year, the process and feelings are very similar.

As an additional 12th grader told me, being fully remote is not all it’s cracked up to be.  “Some of my teachers I’ve only spoken to once or twice this entire school year which is so bizarre to me.. they often feel like a stranger.”  The sad truth is that it is much harder to communicate with teachers or students via zoom or google meet.  Between technology glitches and less motivation, in-person learning is much more preferred.  Quite a few students have admitted that participating is a burden, especially when they don’t like the way they look on the screen.  Being home so much has caused many 12th graders this year to consider going far away or, the opposite, staying local.  “I was looking at schools across the country in California,” the senior said.  “But once Covid-19 hit, I began to re-evaluate… I changed my application list to all schools in New York.”  The pandemic is now affecting almost everyone’s decision about where they will go to college.

One thing for sure is that this experience has taught us to be resilient and that we can get through difficult times.  As hard as it is now, I think we’ve become stronger because of it and better prepared to handle the many challenges of the future.

It’s crazy to think that some of us have known each other since we were in preschool.  I hope that streak continues for the next years ahead of us!  Even though it feels as though we were just little kids, we are going to be freshmen in college next year.  Still players, just on a different field.