Class of ’22 has weathered three years of COVID

The Class of ’22 graduates in a little over 80 days but before that time is up there is something that needs to be acknowledged. An elephant in the room per say. Our seniors are burnt out, tired and woefully unprepared for the next step in life, but it’s not their fault. 

Students in the class of ’22 definitely drew the shortest end of the stick when it came to COVID’s timing. First of all, their sophomore year was cut short after an already disastrous year, with pipes bursting, ceiling falling and auditoriums going into partial ruin. Then with spring break going from six days to six months sophomores of class of ’22 definitely didn’t care much about school. 

Then there was junior year. Yes, classes were back, but the virtual vs. in person classes made it exhausting to pay attention. Students were completely in charge of their education no matter which type they took, and this was extremely stressful when piled on top of the pandemic still raging on outside and the strict regulations for hallways, water bottles and even the cafeteria. Teachers were too busy making virtual lessons to take time with other students, and this had a lot of people’s education suffering as sometimes even in class notes were just watching the teachers’ virtual lessons separately.  

And now it’s 2022 and our seniors are close to graduating, but when they walk that stage this May, will they get the recognition deserved? Unlike those before them, ’22 didn’t have a single year of normal high school, and unlike those after them, they don’t get the knowledge of COVID while still experiencing everything a high schooler should. Class of ’22 spent their entire high school career racing toward a boobytrapped finish line while playing catchup to an unreasonable goal, and their prize is a piece of paper and a handshake, but before we can continue, let’s hear from some of our actual seniors on their experiences. 

When asked about how her high school career was affected, Myah Brinker said, “COVID affected me tremendously, especially in athletics. I am a track athlete, and our entire season was canceled in 2020. This impacted my results for that season and the seasons following. It also impacted my academics and has changed me forever.” 

For a lot of athletes this was pretty common. With the sophomore season cut short, masks making it impossible for indoor practices and the regular stress of waiting for good weather, training, injuries and general stage fright, athletes had a hard time adapting to the new status quo of COVID, and, of course, when looking at the academic angle, she wasn’t alone. 

When inquired about how COVID-19 affected her personally, Lexi Downs said, “Ever since COVID-19, it’s caused my motivation to dwindle because school has become a lot different ever since. We had to do our learning online suddenly, which I had never done prior to the pandemic. I had gotten used to it over time and had signed up for it in the second semester of the ’20-’21 year, but I had little to no motivation with how the school itself had changed as well as how classes were taught and the differences with group projects.” 

Once again this seems pretty universal. Sophomore year is already a slacker year for the majority of students, but when that slacker year is cut short, people fall behind. I’m not saying that everyone in ’22 abandoned their studying, but a lot of people did, and, frankly, who can blame them? Students were juggling a pandemic, getting their first job, getting their driver’s license, puberty, mental disorders and school. Out of all of this, very few chose to focus first on Algebra II and papers about To Kill A Mockingbird

But to get to the point; seniors are no better than anyone else in this school, but there is something about them that is admirable. For example, some students managed a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout the pandemic, and others managed to bounce back with almost no problem, and so many of them managed to get enough credits to graduate. 

Of course, to some people that’s no achievement, but for the people who had to spend every huge milestone in the pandemic, it really is. I mean, think about it. Sweet 16-pandemic, drivers license-pandemic, first job-pandemic, high school-pandemic, entering adulthood-pandemic, planning for/visiting colleges-pandemic—nothing these kids were supposed to enjoy was left untainted. 

Birthday parties are held back by COVID regulations, panic shoppers and karens make an already dangerous and tedious job worse, minimum wage makes planning for the future near impossible and driving, school, hanging out with friends, sports, theater, music, everything that helps students pretend life is normal has become some of the most dangerous things. 

But despite that, they work hard, they make plans, they do their work for school and their jobs while trying to do extracurriculars, and all of this without once complaining about how rough it’s been. 

In 2019, their sophomore year was full of mishaps. Pipes burst, ceilings fell, heaters broke, auditoriums got wrecked and, of course, COVID-19 made spring break six months long, and while of course many teachers were forgiving during these times, many were not, and some students were failed by their teachers for avoiding coursework during that harrowing situation. 

Then junior year rolled around. Still mid-pandemic students were expected to return to school full time with no shortened class periods, lighter class loads and even stricter protocols but looser expectations that were inevitably scrapped. Already students lose a good percentage of their retained information over a three month break, but over six months that doubles. Add in stress from literally watching hundreds of thousands of people die every day, and the juniors of ’22 were a wreck. 

And now it’s senior year. Again they were thrown to the sharks, and this time they had the added pressure of being told they were supposed to be mentors to other students. At the beginning of the year, seniors were lectured about acting their age, stepping up to help the school and about being mature leaders, but how are seniors supposed to help others navigate high school when they’ve never really experienced it? No one in the class of ’22 has had a normal school year since 2018, but now seniors are just magically supposed to have the answers to everything and do the faculty’s job of telling underclassmen study tips and where all the classrooms are? 

The senior class is exhausted and no one around them seems to get the hint, but maybe this will help you understand. The last three years have been, frankly, hell, but guess who’s still standing? 

So this year when class of ’22 crosses that stage, remember everything that they went through to get up there.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.