End of the Year Perspective


I have spent this entire year learning remotely. I have only been on campus at Greenbrier West probably 8 times within the past 9 months. Each time I have been there I was filled with anxiety. It felt surreal. I’m not going to sugar coat it: online learning sucks. Online learning is stressful, lonely, and exhausting. Combine that with my existing mental health struggles and this was the hardest school year of my life. It has been brutal. 

I feel behind. I’ve missed out on a year of memories, emotional development, and most of all education. My SAT score has suffered due to remote learning. I’m told “just use Khan Academy!” but Khan Academy doesn’t replace missing a full year of in-person instruction for my core classes. I am painfully bad at math. 

There are pros and cons. I now have amazing time management skills but I also have a deep disconnection with my peers. You know that feeling when you aren’t at school one day or aren’t invited to that one party and something really funny happens and you miss it? Afterward, all your friends have this inside joke that you aren’t a part of and every time they mention it you just sit there awkwardly? That has been this entire year. 

When I talk to kids who were previously remote learners and have since switched to in-person they described to me this overwhelming feeling of being an outsider during their first few weeks back. As if they were the only one in the room who couldn’t speak English or like being an alien from a different planet. The concept of large groups is so foreign to me at this point. I find myself watching TV or movies saying “where is your mask!”, “stay away from those people!”. 

Now that my entire family has been vaccinated I have returned to a new type of normal. I still wear my mask. Obviously. Just because I won’t have severe effects doesn’t mean I can’t still spread COVID. I don’t feel like I’m going to have a panic attack every time I go to the grocery store anymore, and I don’t spend my free time thinking about what would happen if my disabled sibling were to contract the virus. 

I am exhausted. Seeing pictures and videos all year of my peers together at school having fun while I stayed home alone was heartbreaking. Spirit week, choir, basketball games. The best part of this year was the prom and Ms. Arp’s party for Journalism class. For the first time in a very long time, I felt like a kid again. 

I’m excited for my senior year, I’m excited for the mask mandate to be lifted, and I’m excited to get back to my life. Had you told me in March of last year that the “two weeks” off of school would be a whole year I would not have believed you.