With students reporting added stress since the start of the pandemic and remote learning, two local high school seniors spoke about how they’ve been faring during a senior year unlike any other.
Isabella Crow of Cornwall Central High School, Ashley Sanchez of John Jay High School and Anastasia Zhurova of John S. Burke Catholic High School have weathered through virtual after-school programs, finalizing college applications from a distance and trying to figure out how to keep themselves safe from their loved ones.
Sanchez describes the perils of staying healthy and virus-free while focusing on her last year of high school. Her parents tested positive for COVID-19, and while she was initially tested negative, she later received a positive diagnosis.
“It was very difficult having to be in school, and then having to worry about what’s happening at home,” she said. “It was a lot, with having to deal with college apps and then almost being like a second mom.”
Crow has mostly studied remotely since the pandemic began, which has had its benefits and drawbacks.
“Having the hybrid model has given me a lot of opportunities to make my time than if I was in school, and seven hours a day, five days a week,” she said, “but at the same time, I’ve found that in my more difficult classes, I’m just not prepared for the exams in the way that I was at this time last year.”
She has enjoyed taking part in after school programs such as drama club virtually, but the meetings have been scaled back to maintain distance.
“Clubs are kind of left to fend for themselves to figure out what kind of programming is going to be going on this year,” she said.
Zhurova has been going to classes in person, but the after-school activities she has been involved in have been conducted virtually. She anticipates that this mode is something that will continue post-pandemic, as it has been beneficial in helping students engage in activities they wouldn’t have otherwise.
“This may be the basis for continued patterns,” she said. “It’s been more accessible for everyone.”
All of them agree that the college application process has been stressful on a virtual basis.
“It’s just felt very isolated,” said Crow. “We didn’t really have a concrete end to the school year, last year. It just kind of fizzled out.”
Despite this, Crow has described herself as a self-motivated student, which she has used to her advantage during this time.
Sanchez has found that the application resources available to her have been limited during the pandemic.
“I think that has been a little trickier because it’s mostly online and just trying to find new sources on my own, rather than getting more help than then people are used to,” she said.
Zhurova says that staying motivated is the biggest challenge.
“This is the time to show that you are a good student,” she said.
Despite the myriad challenges, Sanchez knows she and the rest of the generation will survive-and thrive-post-pandemic.
“I think we just are going to appreciate life more and like what we have despite what other people think,” she said.