For the high school class of 2020, plans were being made for the perfect year as freshman coming to Wise, or at least that was what everyone thought until the coronavirus pandemic hit. Not only did the virus affect their freshman year, but it also changed how they expected their last year of high school to go.
Senior year was supposed to be the most amazing year of high school. However, with the outbreak of the coronavirus, the most amazing year turned out to have a nasty ending.
For one high school senior, COVID-19 ruined all the events that were planned for their senior year. Sydney Butler said, “Covid affected my senior year by canceling all of the events that were lined up for seniors. I and all of my classmates were all looking forward to ending our senior year together and closing the end of our year together and that kinda got destroyed for us. I was excited that we were all reaching the end but covid ended that abruptly.”
For Butler, the fact that they could not attend special events for seniors, such as graduation and prom, was how COVID-19 affected her. For another high school senior, Kelsey Blaylock, COVID-19 affected her differently. Blaylock recalls her senior year being normal until about February. Blaylock said, “When February came it brought the worry and preparation for quarantine. In the month of March, I believe, is when we were sent home and were told that our grades would stay the same and the work that we did was for extra credit, in my college courses we just went online to continue our course work.”
It seems that this high school senior reflected more on how the second half of her senior was changed to being online, but only for the classes that were for college credit. The two different perspectives show how COVID-19 changed how they initially thought their senior year would end, one from a social view and one from an educational view.
Senior year of high school was not the only school year that was affected for the UVA-Wise class of 2024. The pandemic changed how they originally perceived their freshman year of college to be. For Butler, her experience was affected because before the year even started, she knew it was going to be different than what she witnessed from her sister. Butler says, “I had already seen what my sister had done in her first year of college and was excited that I could have a similar first year. With covid I knew that I wouldn’t get the similar first year of college than I had originally thought.”
Blaylock said, “I was expecting to meet more people quicker than I did as well as having more functions to get involved with. Still, the college did do activities that I attended but not the same as my vision.”
Even though both freshmen’s year was affected by the virus, it appears that has a more positive outlook on their freshman year, even if it is different than expected.
Online learning was also a challenge that freshman experienced. The two freshmen that were interviewed, both agreed that being online made learning difficult for them.
For Butler, “being online has been difficult for me because I’ve always learned different anyway. It was just a bit more challenging going online even via Zoom it is different.” She explained that the reason as to why she believed online learning had been more difficult is because it was harder to stay on top of schoolwork and balancing a social. Butler also said that if given the chance she will choose to do in person because she would “rather take the in person classes even if I am required to wear a mask because I rather just deal with wearing a mask than being online.”
For Blaylock, she said that “learning has always been a very experience; I like working with my teachers personally on subjects that I struggle with and that was hard to do when on Zoom. That is why my first semester was hard because all but one class was on Zoom rather than in person.”
For Blaylock, online learning was more difficult because it became harder to get to know the professors and be able to personally ask for help since everything was done via Zoom, but she was still able to adapt so she feels like whether or not her classes are being held online or in person she will be able learn better now that she has experienced it before.
On top of online learning, the freshman had to experience going from a block schedule for the fall semester to a sixteen-week schedule for the spring semester. For the two freshmen, they personally felt that the block schedules were not that bad but having to transition from the block schedule to the sixteen-week schedule threw them off. For Butler she said, “…it is more challenging moving to the full 16 weeks only because we had a block schedule in the fall. I feel like I had to try and juggle a lot of things — of going into my first year of college and having two different semesters and trying to keep my classes under control.”
The other freshmen felt that “having the block schedule did not affect me as much as it did until I had a 16-week schedule. I adapted with the constant due dates and going by a schedule on when I could do certain things. Now it is different because my due dates are not as demanding and I have time to breathe.”
They do seem to think that come next semester if it stays in the sixteen-week semester that it will be easier since they have already adapted to it this spring semester and since they know more people, so if needed, they can get help.
Overall, even though 2020 has been one rough year for these high school seniors or college freshman, depending on how you look upon them, they still have hope for the new academic year to come due to all the lessons that they learned that made them stronger.