An Inside Scoop on Sophomore Life during COVID-19
COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our lives. For Lawrence Woodmere Academy’s sophomores, this pandemic has had a tremendous impact on their high school experience. In a recent survey, a few students from the Class of 2023 weighed in on the struggles of learning remotely and the difficulties of isolation, and they discussed how we, as a school community, can keep our spirits alive during these troublesome times.
Despite attending school physically in the beginning stages of the year, sophomores Samuel Schwartz and Reina Samuels are currently learning remotely, which, of course, has its disadvantages. Because of this lethal disease, students are being robbed of the regular and enjoyable high-school experience that they so deeply crave. Schwartz identifies as one of those students, as he mourns the loss of a regular theatrical production this year. “The biggest thing for me was not having a show. This was one of the best things in middle school and freshman year, and hearing I would not have a real one was devastating.”
Though Zoom has played a role in maintaining connections and communication throughout these unorthodox times, students don’t feel as close to their peers and teachers as they used to. Moreover, in-person learning does not provide opportunities for bonding either due to safety precautions and social distancing requirements. “The pandemic makes communicating with classmates and teachers more difficult,” Samuels admits. “I’ve done both in-person and online this year and both make it hard to be able to interact when we have to be 6 feet apart at all times.”
It is easy to feel overwhelmed and unmotivated while under these circumstances. Students have become more susceptible to “burnout” during the pandemic, but have remained persistent and resilient. They sought reasons to be motivated and discovered new ways to recharge. “My main source of motivation would be taking the time to relax and stay away from a screen for a bit. Whether that takes the form of sleeping, baking, or doing a puzzle, it always calms me down,” Samuels reveals. The amount of time teenagers spend in front of a screen has dramatically increased due to at-home learning, so designating time to spend away from devices is always beneficial. Schwartz and Samuels also suggested some ways remote learning can improve to reignite the fire in the students. Reina Samuels believes that we can thrive by “making sure that class lessons are engaging and relevant.” We can boost LWA spirit, Schwartz suggests, with “events like the play and the faculty show,” which could be performed virtually. We must commit to doing whatever we can to stay positive and stick together during these tough times!
Ultimately, experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught teenagers, and our society in general, an abundance of life lessons. This confinement has served as a period of self-growth and self-discovery for many. The most important lesson Schwartz learned from the pandemic is that “[he] can do things independently.” Samuels affirms, “Communication and staying in touch with people will make it easier.” It’s true. The secret to surviving this pandemic, isolated and solitary, is communication! Converse with an old friend! Check on a family member you have not spoken to in a while! At the end of the day, we all need to lean on someone for strength and support. I encourage you, LWA, to keep your head up in the face of adversity and continue to persevere! We’ve got this because we have each other!