As the 2021 fall semester is kicking off, we welcome new students who have never quite had a college experience before, and unfortunately have never had a high school senior experience either. People felt as if they were pulled out of the reality that they were getting used to all of their life. This can be said in many areas of life in the past year, but focusing on education can highlight the difficulties that children and young adults had to face for about a year and a half now.
Coming into any new school environment can be an interesting transition for a student, especially when it seems like most people feel the need to pull from their past experiences to make sense of their present day situation. Not only do students that are kicking off their freshman year in college have to adjust to an entirely new chapter in life, but mentally they have to gather hope for a school life that’s more ingrained in reality, after it seemed like that idea came to a halt in their final year of high school.
“When it got to a point where we could only come in person to school three days a week, and then had to be online for two days a week as the students in the school had to rotate days in both settings, I knew the pandemic heavily changed the elements of everyday schooling,” Chris Monaco, freshman business management major and Cabrini basketball player, said. This is something that mostly all students can relate to, no matter what grade one found themself in during the 2020-2021 school year.
When focusing on high school seniors though, it hits home differently knowing that in their final year of high school where things are supposed to be the most fun, students had to completely readjust. Readjusting while keeping in mind that schooling will also be altered at whatever college they planned on attending can also be mentally stressful while raising concern for an individual’s academic success.
According to the Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health organization, students’ lives were negatively impacted in three major ways: providing structure and routine, social interactions, and activities that put them one step ahead for the future. Being sent home with assignments with looser due dates and having online distractions while in online classes definitely took a sense of structure away, structure that helped kids get work done and have a smoother schedule. Social interaction through all levels of school is essential for human development as we all know, while extracurricular activities such as sports and places around town such as restaurants and movie theaters were shut down or restricted heavily. This did students a disfavor when it came to enjoying their weekends and making themselves more presentable in the college admission process.
“It was undoubtedly a hard senior year with how we had to adjust to the zoom school life while the teachers and school had to adjust on the fly too, but if I start to get into habits such as waking up earlier on most days, studying even when not in class, and prioritizing and managing my time effectively, then I should be able get into the full swing of things as I get used to college,” Hunter Kraiza, freshman business management major and Cabrini basketball player, said. According to a study conducted by the Global Strategy Group last year, 32 percent of high school seniors said the pandemic has made them less likely to enroll in college and 40 percent of high school seniors planning not to enroll say the pandemic played a significant role in that decision.
Even though every student was knocked out of the swing of things when it comes to their usual education, one shouldn’t let those hard times determine their future and stop them from trying to find ways to make life at a university work, in a safe and productive manner.
Both Monaco and Kraiza agreed on the notion, and I’m sure millions of students out there do too, that in some way, shape or form schooling will be forever changed at all levels because of this pandemic. This change will come with more technology being utilized in education and less pen and paper while schools are going to try their very best to keep the in-person, social element. As a freshman, internally keeping hope alive while doing what you have to do to make sure you and the ones around are safe and healthy, during these new college days, seems to be the route that’s going to positively get the year off to a solid start.