By Madilyn Loper
Students were so happy for the two weeks they originally thought they would have off. For the class of 2024, they went home one day during middle school and never returned.
Starting high school was confusing. I switched from a small private school to a larger public school, and I had no friends. I didn’t properly connect with any of my teachers, and after about two weeks of going to school in-person, I switched to online classes. Without any proper schedule or structure, I, like many others, quickly lost any motivation I had, and my grades started to drop. My freshman year, I did horribly- and I know I’ll never get those grades back. Now that I’m a junior, I worry about my grades more frequently, and I wish I could take my entire freshman year back (RIP, my GPA).
Other people enjoyed online school and zoom calls (but did anyone really enjoy those?); they believed school was easier that way, and the classes were just easier. It was almost like a vacation for them -- a break from waking up early everyday. They preferred being at home and having more flexibility. Some of my peers said that Covid didn’t affect their grades at all.
However, quarantine was a confusing time for many. Many tears were shed over things lost. Unlike adult events, some events in teen years can’t be replaced; prom, graduation, and many other important mile-stones were forgotten. You can reschedule gatherings and parties, but once you lose a school year, it’s gone forever. Along with big occasions, as many as 140,000 children lost a parent or caretaker. Along with grades suffering, so was mental health.
According to the CDC, over a third (37%) of high school students reported poor mental health during the pandemic, and 44% said they felt persistently sad or hopeless. Students who actually felt connected to adults or teachers were less likely to report feelings like these. Poor mental health affects grades, decision making, and causes increased behavioral risks.
Overall, regardless of the grades gotten during the pandemic, it was a hard year for all of us in many different ways, and I’m glad it’s over, and I can continue to go to school and build relationships with my teachers and my peers.