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Kate Burry feels nostalgic as she returns to school after nearly a year online

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Kate Burry '22

From left, Prentiss Corbin ’22, Jade Stanford ’22, Tom Baker ’22 and Kate Hassett ’22 gather outside the English building.

Kate Burry

Waking up to torrential rain pounding at my window and snoozing 30 minutes past my alarm, the finale of my 364-day hiatus from in-person school was off to an inauspicious start. However, as soon as I made the infamous turn onto Coldwater Canyon, butterflies of excitement filled my stomach.

As cars pulled into the senior parking lot, I saw faces I never anticipated to be so happy to see. I said hi to those I’m not yet closely acquainted with and elbow-bumped those I know very well. Over quarantine, I resolved to know as many of my classmates as possible before we graduate in the summer of 2022. As I climbed the exhausting stairs from the parking lot to the entrance, I let out a breath of relief: things are finally going back to normal.

After flashing the three green screens on the Trace safety app, Upper School Counselor Michelle Bracken directed me over to a red tent in front of Munger science building to pick up my lime green cohort bracelet from the red tent in front of Munger Science Center. Lucky me, the accessory matched my outfit. As I sauntered through the quad over to the English building, memories of my 10th grade school year bubbled up to the surface of my mind: searching under tables for my lost tennis racket and laughing with my friends after tripping over a minefield of backpacks. It felt surreal to be back in the place which has so drastically defined my teenage years.

Before first period, I walked into the wrong classroom and slightly embarrassed myself. Yet somehow I was comforted at the spontaneity of the mishap. While online school has given me the opportunity to learn remotely, in-person school provides the happenstance interactions that often make my day. Logging into my math class, I was eager; a feeling foreign to my remote-learning experience.

From 8:30 a.m. until 2:05 p.m.,  the day consisted of the typical school day grind. Finishing up reading assignments during lunch, completing final math problems from my homework in between periods and refraining from using the restroom during class in fear of missing information, everything felt back to normal. Despite the fact that there were four other voices in our cohort room, each competing to drown out the others, I found myself feeling immersed in the school environment and able to focus more intently than I can in my own room.

As I logged out of junior class meeting, walked past Ted Slavin Field back to my car, and pressed the check out button on the iHW app, my heart felt full. But suddenly, as I drove past campus on my way to Weddington Golf & Tennis for practice, I realized that I had left my tennis shoes at school. I laughed at myself and remembered that a true school day isn’t over until I leave something of the utmost importance on campus.