Junior Year During a Pandemic

Juliette Keefer, Editor

Toward the end of the 2020 school year, the spread of Covid-19 caused schools to shut down. Many students, including myself, were just expecting a two-week break from school. Instead, the rest of our school year was cancelled. As a sophomore, I wasn’t distraught over the early end to school, given that I still had my whole junior year ahead of me to help me prepare for college, go to prom, have a choir trip and hang out with my friends. Or at least I thought.

As most already know, classes were either half remote, or 100 percent remote during the first semester of this year. I’ve always been told that junior year is the hardest school year, due to harder classes and standardized tests for colleges being offered for the first time. However, I never would’ve imagined having to tackle those with little help from teachers. I had never taken an AP class before now, nor have I ever had to take a class online. It was excruciating to try to learn everything with little contact with teachers. Sure, we had Teams meetings, but Teams meetings are really hard when there’s poor a internet connection. While it’s easy to look up answers for assignments, that doesn’t create learning and understanding. Another thing that was taken from me this year was being able to properly prepare for standardized tests, like the ACT and SAT. Now I feel like I’m going to have to take these tests half blind. The last time I had the opportunity to take practice tests for free was my freshman year.

I lost other things, too. One thing I’ve always enjoyed most about school has been A Cappella choir. My sophomore year we were supposed to compete in New Orleans (which was sadly cancelled). However, I had the foolish hope that for my junior year, maybe I’d be able to compete for the first time, but that too was taken this year. Christmas has also been such an important time for the choir. We perform for hundreds of people in the community, which obviously couldn’t happen this year. Yet we still had hopes for some kind of concert, whether it be outside or virtual. However, each of these options ended up not being possible. Our choir director, Joshua Dubs, was just as disappointed as we were. He ended up putting together a collage of concert videos from years past so we could at least have something. A Cappella has always been something that I’ve enjoyed, not just the singing aspect, but the group of people. Losing that time has been the hardest part of the pandemic. I’m hoping that for my senior year, we’ll be able to sing together at least half normally.

The pandemic has taken so much from me, but I’ve also been given the time to learn more about myself. I have more respect and understanding for other people. On the other hand, I also feel a lot less tolerant when people don’t even attempt to show any sort of respect for others. Also, I’ve been able to take the time to develop my confidence this year.

I’m hoping to have some sort of normalcy for my senior year. For that to happen, everyone needs to sacrifice. The pandemic isn’t over yet, even if we’re back in school. Social distancing and proper mask wearing still need to be in effect for life to return to normal.