The sweaty atmosphere. The little bits of food flying everywhere. The hundreds of bodies rushing past one another. They say that high school is that one experience you can’t ever forget and in 2021, high school really has become an experience one will never forget. Covid-19 has put the world into a state of panic, where citizens choose not to meet one another and choose not to go outside. Amongst all the people in the world, there stands a group of humans who are going against the odds in order to pursue an education. The students.
Hundreds and thousands of students have been unable to attend school as a normal student should for the past 14 months. Among these hundreds and thousands of students, there is a group of students who have just advanced into high school from middle school. In 2020 and 2021, there have been freshmen who have entered high school from the comfort of their own home. I am a freshman student at Ridgewood High School who has been to the school once to drop off my medical forms. For the past 8 months, I have been enrolled at and attending a school, whose building I have no idea how to navigate. There are so many students like me, even more who have it worse than me.
Despite the comfort that my home brings, I long for the feeling of belonging, which has been stolen from me since March 2020. Although staying all remote has allowed me to enjoy a much more relaxed freshman year, I have been unable to enjoy the excitement and the nervousness that comes with entering high school. I believe that will be my biggest regret, but despite this, there are many students who are making the best of the situation and working to change this unprecedented situation. Some kids try to make their day a little bit better by making themselves a delicious lunch, some kids make their day a little better by playing with their pet. A female, freshman student who is currently attending Ridgewood High School says, “I play the guitar every afternoon. I didn’t have time before but I do now.” These little things have helped freshmen to cope with the obstacles encountered in the first year of their maturation journey.
The assignments that slowly stack up throughout the day, along with the feeling of wanting to give up is still present, but freshmen have been making an effort to take control of their freshman year and make it their own. The freshman students who physically go to school, the ones who stay home 24/7, they are all walking their journey with their surroundings pitch black, but in spite of this, they continue to take one step in front of the other.
Graphic: Bronwyn Spencer