Freshmen reflect on school closure

Freshman Palmer Hall stands at the top of the staircase after riding up Campbell Street in Harrisonburg on his bike.

Kasey Thompson

Freshman Palmer Hall stands at the top of the staircase after riding up Campbell Street in Harrisonburg on his bike.

COVID-19 has taken something from everyone. Freshman Palmer Hall believes the pandemic will affect his sophomore year in a negative way. 

“I think missing [the end] of my freshman year will affect next year because we will miss a lot that we should have learned at the end of the year. We might have to redo it at the beginning of next year to catch up,” Hall said. 

Freshman Imaan Shakoor agrees with Hall in that she does not have all the skills needed for the classes she is taking next year. However, she also believes that the social aspect of sophomore year will be greatly affected. 

“I think missing part of my freshman year might affect me next year not only academically, but socially. First off, academically, I don’t have the education I need for the classes I’m taking. I’m scared I’m not going to perform to my best ability in math next year because I haven’t learned everything I need to learn this year,” Shakoor said. “For the social aspect, I feel like I didn’t get enough time to secure bonds with people that I met and I don’t know if those bonds will carry on to next year because I haven’t secured them properly.” 

Being in quarantine is a change from going to school and seeing other students every day, so both Hall and Shakoor are now spending time on things they never had time for before. 

“Quarantine has been fine, [I have] a lot of stuff to do on some days and not much to do on others. I’ve been biking a lot at JMU and downtown when I can,” Hall said. 

For Shakoor, quaratine has been a way to destress from daily occurences at school.

“Quarantine’s fine; I’m kind of enjoying the time off of school because school is really stressful, and social interactions are stressful. Also, school started really early and I like being able to do work when I want [in quarantine],” Shakoor said. “The best part of quarantine for me is being on my own schedule [and working] at my own pace.”. 

Hall has been building a bike ramp in his spare time.

“The best part of quarantine for me is probably how much I have been able to work on stuff that I never really had time to do [before], like building a ramp [for biking],” Hall said. 

A challenging aspect of quarantine for Shakoor has been social distancing. With there being a decrease in her daily dose of interactions, it has caused Shakoor to find new ways to cope.

“The worst part of quarantine is no social interaction because I thrive off of social interaction; but, I can cope with it. It’s not hard,” Shakoor said. 

Freshman year of high school often lays the groundwork, academically,  for the next three years, so Hall feels that losing such a large part of his year will negatively impact him later.

“I think having the first year of school taken is a pretty bad start to high school. It is definitely confusing right now about what we will do next year and what effect it will [continue to have on us] depending on how the virus [progresses],” Hall said. 

In contrast, Shakoor has put the school closure in perspective and feels empathy towards the senior class who have missed out on numerous high school traditions. 

“I’m okay with my first year of high school being taken. I have three more years full of possibilities. I sympathize more with the class of 2020 because they’ve worked for twelve years and now they don’t get a graduation or anything to recognize them. So, I feel like my struggles aren’t really comparable to theirs,” Shakoor said.  

 

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