A High School Student’s Perspective
Field Notes PK-12 Schools: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 /
As an architect who focuses on designing educational facilities, I continually seek new perspectives from individuals to better understand students, staff, and administrators’ needs. The following article is written by Jordan Kirschbaum, a 15-year-old sophomore reflecting on her high school experience during the pandemic.
Before school started this fall, I was given a choice to participate in a “hybrid schedule” or do the year completely online. My friends and I chose the former. My choice to participate in the hybrid schedule was based on how I thought my education would best thrive within the limitations set. I knew if I was left alone, my fragile motivation would falter.
By deciding to participate in the hybrid option, students were allocated into two cohorts. I was blessed with an astounding surge of luck; my friends and I were all put into Cohort A, meaning we would attend in-person on Mondays and Wednesdays and online the rest of the week. Cohort B attended in-person on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For both cohorts, Fridays were scheduled for class Zoom calls (with the occasional Google Meets).
We are always required to wear face masks at school, except when eating lunch. While at lunch, only three people can sit at a table typically filled with 8-10 kids. We must stay six feet apart. Blue X’s are placed on the benches attached to tables to help us with the 6’ rule. Lockers are no longer being issued, resulting in heavy backpacks loaded with our belongings for the entire day.
Amidst this chaos, my friends and I sometimes mull over aspects of this drastic change in education. The lack of connection is disturbing — newcomers don’t get to experience things such as assemblies or homecoming. It’s difficult to make new acquaintances, and becoming close to your teachers is challenging. The priority is to offer as much normalcy as possible; successful education feels like the targeted outcome despite the abnormal schedule.
I’ve dedicated my life to my education, and just when it starts to count, it’s been paused. I feel like I’m being held in an endless waiting period. Somehow, we must live with that reality: our passions and youth seemingly on hold. The number of things we can control keeps getting smaller, and I’m scared by the idea that all my efforts now—will later be discarded or fruitless. I’m hoping this change and its byproducts don’t take from my generation of a fulfilling future.