Starting high school during COVID-19 is a hard transition (Commentary)

Taking a deeper look into how the change from eighth grade to ninth grade during a global pandemic has affected Kaitlyn Randolph


The Mav

Mead High School administration considers community feedback when making important decisions.

Quarantine: I think I’ve used that word more in the past year than I have said my own name in the past 15.

Everyone is having a rough time right now — we’re in the middle of a global pandemic! As an eighth grader going into ninth grade at a school none of my friends were attending, I didn’t have the easiest time.

I vividly remember March 13 (almost a week after my birthday) when our spring break was extended. I believe everyone was excited to have an extra day of break. Who wouldn’t be?

I never thought it would be the beginning of a global lockdown.

The week before spring break, the only thing anyone talked about was the mysterious coronavirus. I was in my science class, and my teacher told us to stop looking at news articles during class because it wasn’t a big deal, and they would never close down school for it.

Oh, how they were so wrong.

Towards the end of our break, my parents got an email saying I would return to school but not in an ordinary fashion. From then, online school became newly introduced, and everything else was brought to a complete standstill.

I was in eighth grade, so at the end of the year, we were really just doing review of the entire curriculum; however, they were also trying to “prepare” us for high school at the same time. I don’t know if anything they said helped other students entering high school, but there was nothing they could’ve said or done to prepare me for what high school would be like during lockdown.

Here comes summer time and masks are required to enter stores. There are hand sanitizer bottles everywhere and signs saying, “Please stay six feet away from each other at all times.” I never thought this would last for long. I also never thought much of it. My parents said they’ve never experienced anything like this, and my grandparents were terrified.

Then it really hit me: I was living through a huge historical event in eighth grade that will probably be taught to my kids or even their kids.

I really started to struggle when school began. I hoped I would be attending high school in person, but then I got a video sent to me about what school would look like this year. I was overwhelmed. The administration was explaining why and how school would be run the way it is this year.

This led me into a spiral of confusion. I had so many questions like “When will we be going back in-person?” “How are tests going to work?” “Are teachers assigning the same amount of homework?” and “As a freshman how am I going to be introduced to the school and for that matter new people in general?” Yet, I was too scared to ask any of them. I figured I could find out the answers on my own but I just stressed myself out doing so much as thinking about it.

Online was stressful for many people: students, teachers, administration, and other faculty. Not knowing many people in my classes and not knowing how high school worked in general, it was really hard for a while.

Late nights, electronic devices, and overall stress devoured me. I lost all motivation to do any school work and no longer wanted to get up in the mornings. Wasn’t freshman year supposed to be the beginning of the best four years of my life?

Then hybrid schooling became a part of the plan. It sounded so perfect, only going half a week, more human interaction, and actually having that experience of walking around the school trying to find my classes. Yet I attended for maybe a week — it was the worst.

I would be online for two days, go to school for two days, and then be online again for Fridays. I was more stressed going back and forth than sitting at my computer, so I opted to do school fully online. It was like picking between a bad option or a worse option.

Around October, I was getting better with my motivation and turning in assessments. I felt like I had finally gotten the hang of high school, or so I thought. Second semester of my freshman year hit and everything I had worked on was just thrown out the window.

Currently I am still recovering and trying my best to stay caught up for the first year of my high school career.

Everyone handles stress differently, especially teenagers. With social life, academics, and work, it can be overwhelming to be hit with this pandemic. Maybe high school will continue to slowly move forward with plans to attend fully in person.

I have high hopes for the future of my high school career, but I have to admit that this has been so much harder than I ever thought it would be.