My First Semester Of The 20-21 School Year-(Covid Semester)


Alex Burns, Staff Reporter

 What was supposed to be an average run of the mill school year for students around the globe, has turned into a school year of unorthodox teaching methods. As I am writing this, the first semester of my 20-21 school year is coming to an end. This school year was impacted by a global pandemic brought by a virus known as Covid-19. We traded in classrooms for virtual ones, paper worksheets for PDF documents, pencils for computer cursors, and classmates for little black windows of names on a computer. 

From dealing with a global pandemic, navigating a new way of learning, as well as deciphering world events that have happened around us, 2020 was a very trying year. I do not think there is a person alive in this world today whose life has not been impacted by events of this past year. For me, as a high school senior who’s junior year was cut short and (as the year progresses) seems as if his senior year will be all virtual, this has been a lot. I did not get to experience prom as a junior or even a lacrosse season. I have not been able to get the opportunity to walk school hallways and interact with students and teachers and build new relationships.

But, as a lot of people have had to do; I have adjusted. Instead of focusing on the negatives I have decided to take a different approach and look at this past year as a “trial year”, a year to try new things and experiment to see what works and what does not. Regarding school, I have adjusted quite nicely to online learning. Nothing beats rolling out of bed at the very start of class and just logging onto my computer to get into class. I have not had to worry about getting ready to go to school, trying to make sure I have all my papers with me, and making sure that everything is organized. Essentially all my work is there in front of me! It is all on my computer! What once required a heavy backpack and loads of notebooks and binders now requires a computer which is easily transportable and has everything you could need in one place. 

What has been difficult about this 20-21 school year is having to be in classes on a computer when a teacher isn’t necessarily engaging. What happens when you are not thoroughly engaging with teenagers who have the freedom to do whatever they want within their household? They find different ways to become engaged. For me and probably other students that engaging device has been a phone. I often find myself texting friends, scrolling through social media, and watching netflix when I am in a class where the teacher just talks at us and is not engaging. What has also been difficult is the fact that we have very limited interaction with classmates. A big part of what made school fun and kept kids engaged was that social interaction. Now that it has been limited it is even harder for me and I bet a lot of others to focus on what the teacher is talking about. It is also very hard when teachers assign huge amounts of work to do after class. Sitting down for 8 hours in front of a computer is long enough. Making students sit down for additional HOURS afterwards is called cruel and unusual punishment. 

With all these changes going on around me I have still been able to keep myself afloat and maintain solid grades this year. I do not think the first semester of this 20-21 school year has been terrible. Has it been filled with ups and downs? Absolutely. Has it been a semester of false promises of going back to school? You bet it has. But the one thing that I have taken away from this first semester is that people are trying their hardest to adapt to a “new normal” and that is ok to step out of your comfort zone and experience something new and try to work around it. Change can be scary, but it is imperative to life and the more change you experience the more comfortable you eventually become.