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Stepping Into Senior Year

In a post-Covid world, it seems as though time has slowed down. With no strict deadlines, it almost feels like this year has gone by without much care for school in general. Hopefully, next year we will return to some kind of normalcy in the classroom; something that at least resembles what high school was like. Being a junior myself, I am not prepared to be a senior this fall, and in many ways I still feel like I never even left middle school. It seemed like the end of my sophomore year melted into my junior year, and now a junior year into senior year. In my reflection, I reached out to my classmates to understand their perspective, and if they are prepared for post-high school life after and entering the real world. How has the pandemic changed not only school, but ourselves? Will it even feel like “senior year”? Through the many trials and tribulations, hopefully the class of 2022 will come out the other side still feeling ready to enter a brand new world. 

As the ‘20-’21 school year comes to a close, many students are being hit with the sudden realization that, what felt like the longest year of high school to date, is going to be soon over; no grade more than the class of 2022. While some feel worried and fearful of what comes with our senior year, others rely on faith and confidence that everything will work out fine. “I’m nervous but it’s been a long time coming, so I’m very excited,” says Alexis Hunting (‘22), who hopes to bond more with her graduating class this upcoming year. She is among the many students who feel like their last year of high school will be easier than the previous, and remains optimistic about the future. Chaitra Kommaraju (‘22) agrees, stating “It’s exciting, I’ve been looking forward to graduating next year, senior retreat, and I hope that the senior class will bond together,” an aspiring sentiment for her final year. Others are filled with excitement and frenzy, desiring to bring a fresh energy to the uneventful past year, “Let’s get hype and bring that energy baby, get loud,” declares Owen Danko (‘22), who is looking forward to attending many school functions with his friends. However, some students remain unsure about growing up. “I’m vaguely terrified,” reveals Matthew Harrelson (‘22), not until now fully grasping the reality of next year. Perhaps his outlook will change during summer break, and he’ll come back in the fall with some new found confidence.

Along with this new year comes new regulations surrounding Covid-19, and possibly some normalcy to put students at ease again. The pandemic altered the course of our high school careers majorly, from our clothing taste to how we complete school work. “Although it’s lightened my workload, it’s been harder to get it done and turn things in on time. It’s become harder to be motivated, and has forced me to go through a personality change,” says Hunting. She and many of our colleagues are alike in this thinking.  Kommaraju added, “My attention span has gotten worse – [I] can’t focus. I have tried to develop strategies to increase [my] attention span again.” Along with this new struggle is the pressure of college applications and finding out what profession we would like to possibly go into in the future, something senior year focuses on intently. This sudden shift from regular life has either given students time to focus on their life ahead of them, or it has simply served as a distraction from pondering hard questions about themselves and their future. For myself, this time has given me new paths I can explore with my creativity and has allowed me to step back and really wonder what my likes and dislikes are. But even with all the time outside of school, it’s still scary thinking about growing out of high school, and thinking about how prepared you are for this new chapter of your life. “[I’m not prepared], but you have to do it at some point, I’m more ready than I think.” Hunting affirms herself, which is the mindset that many have, or at least hope to have, for this subsequent year. 

The theme at the end of the class of 2022’s junior year aims at bringing new energy and life to the dullness of this school year, mainly due to the pandemic. With hopes to reconnect and come together, students are keeping their heads up high. Gone are the years where we were freshmen asking for directions to classrooms, and time has gone by like the blink of an eye. Even with the slow pace of the past years, high school has still seemed like it rushed by, “[High school has gone] a lot faster than I thought it would be.” agrees Ashton Feenstra (‘22). The warm air and sunny days signal the end of the year, but soon, our senior begins, and it will be one full of rejuvenation and growth, promising smooth sailing from here on out.

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