2020 in the Eyes of a Student


As days go by and updates on the COVID-19 virus and hope for a possible vaccine continue to spread throughout the news, it is unbelievable how much has changed this year. The transitions to online learning in the middle of my Junior year and a mandatory quarantine due to a health emergency are events that I never imagined I would be experiencing in my four years of high school, and a couple months ago, with protests erupting all across the globe in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, it seemed as if the nation was drifting even further into confusion and chaos.

There’s no denying that finishing last year online was strange and difficult. Normally, I am extremely dedicated to my work as a student in school, and I try not to let anything negatively impact my grades or GPA at Menchville High. However, this year’s events took an enormous toll on my work in school during the spring. Being in school allows me to remain focused on certain tasks and responsibilities without distractions, but my home provides no such luxury. I found myself easily distracted by my family members, and temptations of leisure frequently swayed my priorities away from high school work. One of the largest distractions, it seems though, was the Black Lives Matter protests and the call for justice and equality. As an activist, I have very strong opinions on the matter (although I won’t get into them in this article), and making my voice heard by keeping up to date on recent information and participating as much as I was able made the simple requirements of high school seem vastly unimportant.

Now, however, as I begin the first few weeks of my Senior year learning through a computer, these events that so heavily impacted me just a few months ago, though still a bit different and unexpected, are now beginning to feel like a new “normal.” With a set online schedule and plan in place, I am able to keep organized much more easily than I was with my online work last spring. The transition from online work then to online work now has been different, especially with students and teachers having to learn how to navigate through Canvas, but this transition has been much easier and more beneficial than the emergency switch from traditional learning to working remotely. I have been continuing my activism via social media, but considering I’m now in my last year of high school, keeping up with my grades and schoolwork and preparing myself for college has become a much bigger priority than it was at the beginning of the pandemic.

There have been some positive things to come out of this year, though. My hatred of the sudden online classes and assignments in the spring did not extend to College Board’s modified AP exams in May. On the contrary, I quite enjoyed the shortened 50-minute tests compared to the multi-hour exams that AP students normally take at the end of each school year. With these modified exams, I was able to calm my nerves in the comfort of my own home by playing music in the background and focus my mind on each question more strongly than I normally am able to do during the seemingly-endless, dragging hours of the regular exams. I can’t wait to be able to take normal classes again, but now with classes being solely online, and with AP exam scores released, I must admit that I continuously find myself wishing the 2020 AP exams were not limited solely to this year. With online school just beginning and the rest of the year unknown, it is impossible to know what exams will be like this year, or whether they will be online or in person, but I hope that even if they are not done in the same shortened fashion that they were in May, they are available online so that I can take them again in the comfort of my own home, instead of with a hundred other students in a crowded, completely silent testing room.

Also, although I did miss my busy schedule of archery practice, clubs, and community service that were canceled last spring due to the coronavirus, the cancellations allowed me to find much more needed time to spend with my family. Now, certain sports and activities have begun to start up again with certain rules and restrictions, but so far this school year, my schedule has not changed much since the beginning of the pandemic. It is currently unknown whether or not archery will be able to start back up again, and although I am still able to practice in my backyard, it is not as enjoyable without the community and friendship of my fellow teammates, and the excitement of tournaments. The clubs that I’m a member of are difficult to continue online, and community service is hard to safely accomplish while following social-distancing rules.

Regardless of opposing views on the this year’s events, I believe it is safe to say that so far, this is a year that has been full of surprises, and one that no one was expecting to experience. I only wonder what else may be waiting just around the corner in the remaining couple months of the year, as well as the new year, and hope that we all can continue to adapt to the change happening around us and continue to live our lives in this new normal.