An unconventional school year: senior experiences

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Senior year is the highly anticipated coming of age moment for many high school students. The traditional high school senior year is the final year before college where students can finally relax, create countless memories with their friends, and enjoy their very last year of high school. Yet, as December approaches, with no signs of COVID-19 subsiding, many seniors have lost confidence in their ability to participate in extracurriculars  and events that would all normally take place in the school building. The Classic interviewed several seniors to get their perspectives on remote learning.

The vast majority are shared that they are discouraged by the inability to meet their friends, as classes are now fully remote. “You can’t see your friend in the hallway after class, and you don’t get to have the same experiences. It’s especially difficult considering this is our last year, and we’ll all be scattered for college after this,” Kanny Ho Fang remarked.  “But in a global pandemic that has taken and affected millions of lives, I won’t even complain about not seeing my friends.” 

With virtual learning in place, many feel that they are missing out on the most significant parts of their high school years. Christine Xu, who was to lead Korean FON this year expressed her disappointment. “I feel like I’m missing out on a lot of ‘lasts.’ I still don’t feel like a senior because there was no significant transition,” Christine said. 

Kayla Pan expressed her disappointment after attending what would be her very last Founders Day. “I remember looking forward to my last Founders Day last year as a junior. Although the faculty has done everything they could to give us our very last Founders Day experience it was definitely unmatched to what we would have gotten in person, she said. “There’s a sense of community that you get on an in-person Founder’s day which just doesn’t feel the same as the virtual one.” Edison Park shared a similar sentiment: “I definitely feel that I missed out on the experience of walking with the senior year confidence; I was looking forward to being able to comfortably hang out with my friends with everyone else just being underclassmen.” 

Many newly appointed club presidents and varsity team captains said they felt that the transition to remote learning took away the chance to connect with new recruits. Boys varsity track captain Christopher Sullivan said, “The pandemic has taken away our chance at a senior season, and our chance to develop the runners that will replace us. We have been doing zoom meetings every couple weeks, but it won’t replace the connections we’d make with the new team members if we were in person.” Shawn Edelstein, co-captain of the Model UN team, shared, “we do lose that personal connection and lighthearted atmosphere that we can have when we meet together in the library. It’s also been difficult getting to know new members, as many of them turn their cameras off and mute themselves for most of the meeting.” 

Ali Boivab, president of Student Secular Alliance and founder of Green Team, also considered the difficulty of running a new club remotely “since there is not a lot of opportunity [for] a lot of ‘presence.’” “On the other hand, more targeted social media recruitment is highly effective in this atmosphere for certain clubs,” Ali shared. “It’s a mix of good and bad.” 

As we near December, many find themselves facing yet another obstacle: college applications. The already daunting task has become even more complicated without access to direct, in person assistance. However, many feel that the guidance department has been putting in their best efforts to aid its students. Edison remarked, “I feel that I’ve been guided well so far; I have everything that I need.” Xu Dong agreed, “I think the weekly meetings and one on one meetings with your guidance counselor and your teachers is extremely helpful.”

Some seniors, however, are looking for more details to  help them with the college application process. Hali Huang commented, “at a lot of the guidance department meetings we have been talking a lot more about basic things like how to apply and general things like starting a college, but not more so the nitty gritty stuff.” To read The Classic’s additional coverage on the college admissions process, click here.

With all of the overwhelming obstacles seniors are facing right now, some remain open and optimistic about the coming months. “Although things may not be looking up right now I am still hopeful that we can make the most of our senior year.” Hali concluded.

Art by Veronica Kuzma, Art Editor