Before this pandemic, waking up and sitting through boring classes was dreadful and felt like there was nothing I would want to do less. However, now I come to my classes excited. I am excited that teachers see me in person and can connect my name to my face. I am excited that I get to see my friends everyday. I am excited that I am picking up the material a lot easier than last year. I am excited that I get to go to football games. Most importantly, I am excited that I get one last “normal” year before I go to college and start a brand new chapter of my life.
For me, the most profound differences of last year were being in classes where the teacher was the only one who talked. Even though we always had the ability to unmute ourselves to answer a question or make a comment, let’s face it: it was a lot easier to avoid talking when cameras were turned off and microphones were muted. This year — although we are still wearing masks—a valuable part of education is back.
It took me a couple of weeks of “normal” school to realize how much I missed out on in my sophomore year. However, last week, a seemingly insignificant moment in my math class made me thankful to be back. When my teacher asked if we could see a “pattern” when looking at trig functions, I answered yes, before looking at the board and taking back my answer and saying no. This made everybody laugh, which my teacher said she really missed, as it had been probably 18 months since the last time something like that happened. It made me realize the thing that makes school tolerable, for the most part: being social, and simply being able to talk to my peers in my classes.
The first day of school was eventful. The hassle of trying to figure out what to wear, the rush as my family runs around trying to get ready and out the door before we are too late. The busy hallways are full of returning and new faces. The packed classrooms of students figuring out their seating arrangements. The teachers are as happy as can be to see their classrooms full of students not black screens. The confused faces of students as there is a problem on their math test that they don’t know. The football games with the screaming crowds. All in a normal day of school, the first in a very long time.
Being back at school has been a beautiful mess. Seeing all my friends again was great and I really missed playing in an actual physical band (crazy, I know). I definitely missed complaining about the lunch I packed with my friends and doing nothing about it the next day, and complaining about my next class, and homework, and that amazing feeling when the final dismissal bell rings.
So, based on that, you’d assume I don’t really like school all that much. However, I assure you, taxpayers of America, that is not the case …There’s just something about getting up extra early and driving to school and watching the sunrise, listening to my favorite music, feeling terrible yet amazing, constricted to my educational prison yet free, enjoying the wind on my arm that I lazily hang out the window. I even missed the drama, the stupid pointless relationships, the gossip, and everything that comes with that …
I can’t help but feeling like there’s not much hope for the world sometimes, but with my friends at my side and the crisp six AM breeze at my back, I am confident in my future.