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Quarter 2: Finally Back To School

Dragging myself out of bed at six in the morning has not been my usual Thursday routine. Since March, I’ve been in the same routine of staying up late, sleeping in late, and (sometimes) joining class late. I didn’t miss waking up at the crack of dawn, lethargically scrambling to get dressed and ready for […]

Dragging myself out of bed at six in the morning has not been my usual Thursday routine. Since March, I’ve been in the same routine of staying up late, sleeping in late, and (sometimes) joining class late. I didn’t miss waking up at the crack of dawn, lethargically scrambling to get dressed and ready for the long drive to school.

But making the decision to come back to school was easy. Being cooped up in my room all day was both boring and distracting, eventually causing my grades to reflect my lack of focus. I knew that attending classes on campus twice a week would help me get back on track because being in a classroom setting would force me to pay attention.

I was pretty bummed about being separated from my friend group, who all happened to be in Cohort B. But I was glad to be placed in the same cohort as my longtime best friend Sofia Antido (’22). On Thursday morning, she hopped in the backseat of my car, acting as the mediator between me and my backseat-driving mom.

Upon arrival, we put on our masks, pulled out our phones, and proved we were checked in on the Safely Back to School app. Almost immediately, we noticed the large arrows indicating where to walk in the one-way hallways.

After finding a place to sit nearby the gymnasiums, we pulled out our iPads as we tried to figure out how to get to A Set. Because of the directed hallways, it took significantly longer to get from one class to the next. Thanks to the adjusted ten minute passing periods, I didn’t have to worry about being late to my classes.

Throughout my first two days, I was surprised by how small my classes were. My chemistry class, with ten people, was no problem for me. But my Spanish class, which consisted of only three students including me, felt really awkward. Something I used to enjoy about school prior to COVID-19 was having big classes sitting right next to my classmates. Current campus learning is quite the opposite with socially distanced seating charts in our smaller classes.

On virtual days, I join Teams calls, do homework, and study all from my bed. I didn’t realize how bad this would be for my back and posture at the time, but when I came back to school, I completely forgot how uncomfortable these chairs are. So I would suggest that you should do schoolwork from a desk or table so that when school comes back full time, you’ll be used to sitting up straight.

Despite a little bit of back pain, the next day was significantly better. A 9 AM start, three classes, and early dismissal made Friday feel more laid back than the 4-Block schedule. One thing I noticed was that my ears felt sore because of the constant pulling from the elastic on my mask. By the end of the day, I was ready to give my ears a break, drop Sofia, drive home, and take the longest nap possible.

The next week of school, I noticed fewer classmates were attending school Thursday and Friday, which meant a people were making the switch back to online classes. My friend Mariana Bahena (‘22) even asked me to pick up her art supplies because she decided to go virtual. When I drove to drop them off, I asked her why she decided to switch cohorts.

”I didn’t want to risk bringing anything home to my parents,” she explained. “Besides, distance learning felt the same as being in school, so why waste time driving there and back?”

Although participating and asking questions in person was a benefit, I still had to join the online meeting to be able to hear my other classmates working from home. I’m disheartened by her decision not to come back, but I understand why campus learning wasn’t right for her.

But eventually, by the fourth week of the cohort schedule, I can already see a big difference in my sleeping habits, note taking, and GPA. I’m glad that I’ve been given the opportunity to come back and meet with teachers without messaging them online.

For those worried about returning to school in January — don’t sweat it. I can’t guarantee we will all have the same experience in this situation, but the adjustment period is short and may not be as bad as you might expect. Just come to campus with optimism and open-mindedness. As someone who missed their classmates a lot during quarantine, being able to reconnect in person was a lot of fun, and I look forward to more people returning to campus.

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