Education, Interrupted

How the pandemic affected the high school experience

Morgan McCormack, News Editor

It all began with a spring break extension in the spring semester of 2020. Students throughout Millard rejoiced as they got an extra week off of school without the knowledge of what was to come.

After the two weeks reprieve from education, the learning began again, but different. Rather than sitting in a classroom, students learned from their bedrooms over a computer screen. Finals were canceled for many, and most felt a dwindling motivation to log onto Zoom for their 20 minute lessons. Prom was canceled, AP exams were taken online and the remainder of the 2020 school year passed in a daze. 

The effects of these online classes were felt in the years to follow, as aspects of education were stunted or fell off all together. This was noticed in classes where the education built over multiple years such as in language classes. Many students taking AP Latin, like myself, are often reminded of their disadvantage due to this set-back.

The next year began with students attending school half in person, sporting masks and half online. After a few weeks, this method was disregarded and students attended in full with the choice of opting to take class over Zoom. 

For the most part, events were canceled with no homecoming and a prom unfitting of the title of a dance as students were masked and forced to sit in their expensive suits and dresses. For many, this year robbed many, including myself, of a true high school experience of attending school sporting events, pep rallies and clubs. 

My senior year,  more normal than the previous two, was still unconventional. A temporary mask mandate was instated, lifted only to be reinstated and lifted once more. In January and February, students had Friday’s off as e-learning days in order to keep the ascending COVID-19 numbers under control. Otherwise this past year allowed some return to form for students with dances being returned to normal, and sporting events and pep rallies being attended in abundance despite the trepidation of the more cautious who noticed the pandemic continuing to rage on.

I leave high school with one year of a normal experience under my belt, I leave feeling robbed of part of my education and of the experiences of high school. Dispossessed of these things at the hand of a global pandemic.

Despite this, however, through these experiences, I gained an opportunity to learn to take advantage of what I can in terms of my education and how to keep myself motivated despite the setbacks and settings of my education. 

In some part, I had to take responsibility for ensuring my education was up to the standards of attending class, working hard more independently than I ever had and more disconnected than ever.

One thing, however, I could not make up for was losing out on the social experiences integral to the entire high school affair and one of the main things one is supposed to gain from high school. Part of attending school is learning how to socialize with people both on your level and in positions above you, something taken that can never be returned.

I cannot go back in time to keep the pandemic from interfering with my education and while it left me sorely lacking in certain aspects of my education and experience, it also taught me the importance of pushing through experiences that seem dead set to inhibit me.