None of us could have seen 2020 coming. As the first full semester of distance learning comes to a close, this year’s seniors have missed out on the experience they have been anticipating for four years. As senior Kimberly Lopez put it, “we are literally missing all of a normal senior year–like our one rally, spirit weeks, normal canned food drive, sports events, the Senior Breakfast… even the assembly we have at the beginning of every year. We’re missing getting to know our teachers and going to their classrooms, especially English [with Ms. Otsuka] since she tells us we would have been doing so many activities.”
However, the first semester has always been a stressful time for seniors, with college applications being the priority for many students. Isabelle Thyfault stated “I expected [senior year] to be stressful from the get-go, but corona and zoom school definitely haven’t helped.” Even given the freedom of distance learning, students have felt the pressure of completing applications amidst the turmoil of the outside world.
Kiana Pavlovic comments that “college apps have been easier due to distance learning because of the fact that we have much more time after school and on Wednesdays to write essays.” That being said, the nature of online school has made her–along with the majority of M-A students–feel “less motivated than usual…I’ve been procrastinating apps, making myself more stressed.” Similarly, Charlie Smith says “I’ve been struggling to find a balance between classes, college apps, sports and music. I feel pretty brain dead and haven’t been sleeping much at all.”
Thankfully, the end of finals week also means the near end of college application season. Then begins second semester–the period of time in which seniors relax, celebrate, and enjoy prom. This year, of course, large gatherings such as school dances cannot happen. So how do students feel about missing the big dance?
Kloe Anderson: “I’ve made peace with the fact that we don’t have prom this year. I think I miss seeing/talking with my friends the most…it’s not the same online.”
Welford Chen: “Personally, I never went to a school dance. While I agree we should have one last gathering before leaving college, I won’t be too much affected by not having a prom. I personally value friendships that are built over time and formed through similar personalities–more than just socializations.”
Kimberly Lopez: “I was super sad we weren’t getting a prom, especially since I was dating a girl and wanted us to go together and everything. It sucks, but COVID isn’t going away anytime soon and our principal has made it clear we aren’t even close to going back to school.”
Neekon Sadaat: “I’m ambivalent. It’s unfortunate we won’t have the classic high school experience of dressing up and dancing together, but at least I won’t have to worry about finding a prom date!”
Isabelle Thyfault: “I’m a little sad that I’ll never get to go to prom but, at the same time, I’d take not having corona over having the quintessential high school experience. I’m missing my friends the most, really. Of course, I want to experience all the fun stuff that comes with senior year but none of it would really be all that much fun without my friends there.”
Isabelle Brahana: “I’m disappointed that we’ll never get prom. I’m the only one of my siblings who would ever have voluntarily gone, but I’m also the only one who won’t get the opportunity. However, I’ve made peace with it. I’m most disappointed about missing graduation because it’s closure and feels momentous.”
Seniors have come to terms with having no prom, and it is truly the in-person experience that they miss the most. “I’m a very outgoing person, and so having to bond through the screen (while I’m still grateful that I get to bond with these people in the first place) just doesn’t give me the same satisfaction as when it’s done in person,” says Katya Rivera. “Teachers create an amazing environment for us students that can really only be best experienced in person and I really miss that.”