By Katlyn Borchelt
From Friday night lights to the long awaited graduation, senior year is supposed to be a time filled with excitement and endless memories. A time for preparing for college while basking in the feeling of finally getting through high school. That is, if you’re not in the middle of a pandemic.
For the class of 2021, this year has presented numerous challenges, ranging from lost sports seasons to forgotten dances. Amidst the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors have had to grapple with the stress of their final year in high school while having little to no social interaction. What should be a year full of nostalgic lasts is instead a year of abrupt ends.
Senior Zoe Skiver knows the struggle all too well.
“Last year my tennis season, prom, Techfest, and college visits were cancelled. I would also never have a high school football game experience ever again,” Skiver said. “My senior year, the year everyone waits for, has been taken.”
With the lack of school activities comes the lack of social interactions. Not only is there an absence of socializing out of school, but there’s hardly any during the school day. In lieu of in-person class interactions, teachers have had to resort to virtual ones over Zoom. Despite their best effort, many seniors say it’s just not the same.
“I just miss seeing everyone I would normally see before everything happened,” senior Emma Hedrick said. “It’s been hard mentally to not be connected to other people in a year that’s supposed to be a big deal.”
Senior Audrey Smith commented on the class environments in regards to course load.
“They expect us to get a lot of work done in such a short amount of time, and it seems like every teacher expects that,” she said. “It makes it difficult to get any work done when there’s just so much to do.”
And with extensive coursework to compensate for lack of in-person participation, many seniors have found it difficult to prepare for college.
“I feel like there hasn’t been a whole lot of talk to us about college,” senior Owen Counterman said. “There’s been really no action to help. It’s more like a looming idea we have to figure out for ourselves.”
With restrictions on when to see guidance counselors on top of the unyielding workload, it’s no wonder there are seniors struggling. While many understand the change in circumstances due to COVID, it appears it doesn’t negate the strain on balancing grades with college. Counterman then goes on to address this frustration of maintaining grades while applying for colleges during the pandemic.
“They’re pushing two different agendas: grades or college,” Counterman said. “I feel like there’s not enough emphasis on which one we should be focusing on.”
While the focus on priorities is unclear, one thing is: seniors have had one rough year. From cancelled festivities to virtual learning to college preparation, it’s not been easy. But for now, the class of 2021 remains a tenacious force amidst the chaos.