It’s a first for everyone: Making up for lost time

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Credit: Sophia Evans/Chronicle

James Hess, Assistant Opinion Editor

As a new ninth grader who came to the school without the friendships and memories usually forged in seventh and eighth grade, I’ve always perceived the upper school campus as a place to make up for lost time. 

After having spent my first year adjusting at the Middle School, I awaited the true beginning of my high school career, when I would walk through the Coldwater campus classrooms and lunch tables for the first time. I would finally be unrestricted by awkward introductions or first conversations. I looked forward to forging relationships, developing passions and at last feeling like a true member of the school. Then, the pandemic hit. 

My freshman and sophomore years suddenly shifted from sports practices and newfound friendships to social distancing protocols and virtual meetings. The three years of upper school joy I had dreamed of soon became an unrecognizable reality.

With each new day came the realization that the memories on which our high school experiences are based would be impossible to create on Zoom. Any emotion—the stress of finals, joy from homecoming or sadness while saying goodbye to a favorite senior—was dimmed by one text message on a laptop and could be stamped out completely by a click of the red “end” button.

Was more time lost than could be made up? 

 I’ve only experienced a few socially distanced weeks on the upper school campus. Even if we attend school completely in person for the next two years, one of my three years here will still have occurred mostly over Zoom. The festivals, speeches and graduations talked up in brochures are only recognizable to me in photos and videos; the traditions I have been lucky enough to experience are stifled by masks and the looming fear of catching COVID-19.

 Most juniors experienced these sentiments. We have spent more time with middle school students than with students at the Upper School.

Next year, the normal routine of homework, tests and classes will be complicated by locker misunderstandings, accidental classroom mix-ups and social miscues.

We face a problem with no easy answer. Administrators have done an excellent job safely providing on campus activities since last December, and many students have taken these opportunities—practicing sports, performing musicals and writing articles, all while masked and socially distanced. 

These activities have lost some of their spirit online, but in spite of these circumstances, they still serve to teach us a valuable lesson: intention. For these events to function, we have worked harder and strived to produce the same quality in more restrictive conditions. We have learned to be thoughtful and considerate in our interactions with others.

 Whether or not we are able to make up the lost time, let’s be intentional with the years we have left.

Click here to read Opinion Editor Sarah Mittleman’s perspective.