New Variant of Senioritis Caused by COVID-19

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Meaghan Sabino, North Salem High School senior, joining one of her many online classes. Photo by Meaghan Sabino

For many, senior year of high school is a highlight of life: it is the culmination of the thirteen years spent with childhood friends, and the springboard for their next step in life. Unfortunately, for a majority of the North Salem High School Class of 2021, the experience has been shattered.

An anonymous survey taken by 29 North Salem High School seniors shows that 83% feel that 2020-2021 is either “worse” or “much worse” than their past years in high school, with 10% voting “same” and only 7% voting “much better.” COVID-19 has altered most major aspects of our senior year—homecoming, prom, graduation, spending time with friends—right down to small privileges like using the senior door. High school senior Cole Pockriss said, “[This year is] not the same senior year I’ve been looking forward to.” While 2021 seniors have already lost a great portion of the year, we see great opportunities for the future that could help make senior year more of what we have envisioned, such as an outdoor prom and the promise of graduation at Caramoor. However, with COVID-19 regulations constantly changing nothing is set in stone. With regulations constantly changing, senior Mimi Turkynak notes “it feels nice” that the class advisors, Mrs. Kappes and Mrs. Doherty, are “trying their best to make this experience special for us.”

Though we seniors are looking forward to the end of the year, many students, not just seniors, have been struggling with mental health because of remote/hybrid learning. A sentiment expressed by Lily Guiliano, which I second as a student, is that this year is “possibly one of the most stressful years of my life but also one where I am the least motivated to do my work and alleviate said stress.” Speaking from my personal experience, for multiple reasons I have not been as motivated to do my work this year as I have been in past years. I am not surrounded by my peers to propel me, it is more challenging to connect with teachers because you can not see them before/after class, and since I have already committed to college there often feels like little motivation to do more than pass. Luckily, I have good relationships with my teachers, established in past years, so I’ve forced myself to do more than the bare minimum. But keeping up with work is painful.

Held hostage by COVID-19, despite a school district that is trying its best by us, we have become zombies. Clicking from one class to the next, distracted by our phones, falling asleep, students can’t live like this much longer. When school and, in general, life gets stressful students turn to their hobbies to calm down. A poem written by senior Meaghan Sabino about this school year expresses the loss of passion this year: “Take the passions we have, make them burdens.”

Since senior year has not been what we all planned it to be, we are mainly looking forward to life after high school. Of the 29 North Salem senior students surveyed, 76% are “very excited” about their “plans after high school” and the other 24% are “ambivalent.” 100% of surveyed students plan on going to college next year, as opposed to taking a gap year or entering the workforce. Some of the colleges North Salem High School seniors have committed to include Bentley University, Columbia University, Quinnipiac University, SUNY Oneonta, Tulane, School of Visual Arts, Universal Technical Institute, and University of Virginia. Personally, I will be spending my next four years in Ithaca, New York, attending Cornell University hopefully relatively free of the oppressive clutches of COVID-19.

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