By KARINA EID | Intern
With the 2021-22 school year nearing for most area private schools, high school students are preparing for the annual shift from relaxation to academics.
Although COVID-19 cases have spiked, schools plan to offer in-person learning. Three students, who attend various schools dotted around Los Angeles, shared their opinions on the topic of returning.
Lila Smith, a junior at Marlborough School, shared that she feels a combination of emotions about the school year: anxiety and excitement, tinged with slight dread—a medley of emotions that almost all high school students experience.
The stress mainly originates from junior year’s infamous reputation, entailing difficult courses and a strenuous workload. Additionally, not having attended school in person for almost two years dampens Smith’s enthusiasm, as she grew “comfortable doing school at home.” Plus, “in-person school eats up more” time, so the relaxation that emanates from online learning may be difficult to leave behind.
However, she said she does believe this transition will incite further “appreciation for being at school,” in the sense that her physical presence may prompt valuable experiences rather than merely sitting at her laptop. In fact, Smith “would prefer in-person school,” as she appreciates “in-person for educational reasons,” such as greater engagement and focus.
With school in mind, Smith has been trying to keep her “mind fresh by reading and … tutoring” over the summer. This year, she may join the Model UN team at Marlborough in addition to playing tennis and giving campus tours.
Brentwood School junior Ella Good revealed a mixture of feelings as well, varying from stress to eager anticipation. In particular, she possesses a sense of trepidation toward “having school from 8 to 3 again,” as Brentwood students have not endured this specific schedule since March 2020.
Good shared the fear also stems from a lack of “free time,” as her previous schedule allowed for leniency and freedom. To make matters trickier, Good had already “adjusted to the school hours with COVID-19,” so she said she worries it will be a challenging shift.
If she had the choice, Good would “prefer to do online learning,” providing time to pursue other interests that she would otherwise lose time for, due to the added hours of transportation, homework and the school day itself.
Nonetheless, setting her worries aside, Good said she is excited to attend school in person. Specifically, she said she looks forward to seeing her friends everyday and participating in the “interesting classes” she signed up for, such as AP Computer Science and Human Geography.
Good also shared plans to continue partaking in various extracurricular activities. For instance, she co-leads a club titled Paws for a Cause, which raises money and awareness for local animal organizations.
In preparation for the upcoming school year, Good has spent time over the summer reading novels and participating in a sociology course, hoping these summertime skills will help her manage the workload this year.
Madi Ushiba, Palisadian and Harvard-Westlake School sophomore, discussed various areas of excitement and skepticism for the year. First, Ushiba said she wants to “go back to in-person school” where she can meet new people and simultaneously endure “a typical school year” experience.
Also, after spending almost two years on Zoom, she said she thinks in-person learning will offer “a nice change,” mainly because “it is easier to absorb and understand information when the teacher is physically there, talking to you.” In regards to extracurriculars, Ushiba looks forward to playing for the Harvard-Westlake girls varsity golf team.
On the other hand, like the other students, she shared worries about the shift from virtual learning to in person, as the learning environment is immensely different. Also, in terms of COVID-19 and its continuing mutations, Ushiba wondered “how schools will keep both students and faculty safe,” slightly adding onto her concerns for the year.
Finally, similar to both Smith and Good, Ushiba has been “reading books and taking summer classes,” reviewing certain subjects she needs to know for 10th grade.
There are several emotions surrounding the school this year, particularly in relation to virtual school versus in person. All three students felt a plethora of emotions: ranging from anxiety to eagerness.
Hoping to ease their stress for the year, they each have dedicated time over the summer to read and educate themselves on subjects that interest them. Above all, the students are excited to meet new people, participate in extracurriculars and learn.
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