By: Calla Fragrassi & Mackenzie Malek
After three years of constant change in our school system, we wanted to ask Highland Park students how they were affected personally, then and now, by COVID-19.
We asked the same questions to students in grades 9-12 on their experiences.
Academics- How did the pandemic affect you academically in school? Was the transition between virtual to in-person learning challenging for you? If so, explain.
Freshman: “I thought the transition was really hard because on top of having to adjust to a whole new lifestyle where I couldn’t see people and couldn’t do so many things, my workload was still similar and so it was harder to do than before because I had so much more going on.”
Sophomore: “I felt like I fell behind in my classes and that school felt optional. Yes, I would say it was challenging because everything was constantly changing and it felt like there was no routine.”
Junior: “I believed everything would be easier coming out but my ideas changed. Also, I mentally struggled after the pandemic which took a toll on school. The actual transition wasn’t the hard part.”
Senior: “It made things easier and I got all As. The transition wasn’t that hard but it was fun to see other people again.”
Activities- Did COVID stop you from participating in any sports or activities you were involved in at the time? If so, how did that affect you personally?
Freshman: “COVID restrained me from all my sports and from seeing people I loved and it was really challenging because I relied on those practices to be good at my sports, so I felt set back and also felt set back from social activities since I wasn’t allowed to see people.”
Sophomore: “I stopped playing volleyball during COVID and when I went back for the season it was harder getting back into it because of the long break off, so I ended up quitting because I didn’t enjoy it as much anymore.”
Junior: “It took away club gymnastics, which was hard for me since it was the last year, and made the sports I eventually joined challenging in the fact everyone knew it wasn’t normal.”
Senior: “It prevented our football season in 2021 from going its full length because we had a shorter season due to COVID.”
Socially- Do you think the way you interacted with others changed after COVID? If so, explain.
Freshman: “ I think it did because so many people relied on social media to interact during quarantine and social media was the base of a lot of people’s senses of humor and things like that, so it kind of became something that defined your personality which I hadn’t really noticed before quarantine.”
Sophomore: “It was weird seeing my teachers and classmates in person after so long, and it felt weird being able to interact with other people besides just my family.”
Junior: “Yes, how I interacted changed in the way I grew, how I wanted to be as a person when I was in lock down. So, I figured out who and how I’d interact.”
Senior: “No, because I still interacted with people during COVID.”
All in all, these responses show that no matter the age, all these students had somewhat similar experiences throughout the pandemic. As you can see, for academics and activities, everyone had similar answers such as falling behind in classes and having to take a break from sports.
For the social questions, the responses varied a bit because this depended on how everyone interacted with others before COVID-19 prevented them from socializing. Some students were still able to talk to their friends and classmates, but others not so much.
What happened during the pandemic still has an affect on everyone today in some way and will in the future.