Why I chose to return to school in person

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Abby Jay

Katherine Swift and Kate Stiens, ‘23, attend class concurrently with virtual students at home. “I wanted to have human interaction and I feel like I learn better in a classroom, so I returned to school,” Swift said.

On March 31, most WHHS students chose to return to campus in-person after a year of distance learning. The Chatterbox staff published two opposing views on the return to school. Read the companion piece here.

 

I am choosing to return to school because in-person schooling provides a level of structure, social interaction and comfort that virtual schooling, and concurrently my life, has been lacking for the last year. 

I have spent the past 12 months barely surviving. 

In March of 2020, as COVID-19 spread across the nation, the extra two weeks of spring break we began with grew into a completely remote quarter of school. It was announced that fourth quarter of the 2019-2020 school year wouldn’t affect your GPA due to its “unprecedented” nature. Due to this, I, as well as many of my fellow students, completely checked out. I no longer had a reason to go to class if it wasn’t for a grade. I wasn’t being held accountable, by myself or anyone else, for my own education. It was like an extra seven weeks of summer vacation. Then summer ended, but the mindset created by those seven weeks didn’t, and I was asked to enter into a new learning environment: my bedroom, only this time the grades counted. This setting was not very conducive for learning. Senioritis is a lot easier to fall into from the comfort of my mattress.

When we returned to virtual school in August, I was asked to find a way to create the sense of structure and stability that school has always provided for myself, which I struggled with incessantly for months. I lost all motivation to do anything. I didn’t leave my house, I barely left my bed. My grades dropped, my mental health deteriorated, and with the social isolation, I felt hopelessly alone in all of it. I entered a downward spiral that culminated with my institutionalization in January of 2021. 

By returning to school, I hope to remove that barrier. I hope to restore the sense of structure and stability to my life, to recreate an environment of accountability for myself and my own education”

I had no idea how to cope with the social isolation brought on by COVID-19, by virtual learning and by quarantine. And that feeling of isolation, that barrier between me and reality, festered and spread like its own type of virus into every aspect of my life, until it tried to eat me alive. 

By returning to school, I hope to remove that barrier. I hope to restore the sense of structure and stability to my life, to recreate an environment of accountability for myself and my own education. I hope to learn, meet and interact with peers and teachers I have only seen through a computer screen. I hope that by returning to school, I can continue repairing my mental health. 

I miss WHHS. I miss the people, students and teachers alike. I miss the learning environment. I miss the community we created for each other. I am excited for a final chance to appreciate everything WHHS has to offer before I graduate and all of it is behind me.

All views shared in the Opinions section of The Chatterbox belong to their respective authors, and may not represent the views of the publication as a whole.