Student Views: Lebanon senior reflects on unexpected senior year

3 min read612 views and 66 shares Posted October 14, 2020

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting students? Who better to tell us than students themselves. Today we’re publishing a submission from Lebanon senior Liann Melendez.

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(Editor’s Note: This column was written before news broke last night that Lebanon High School would go temporarily virtual only.)

Right at the start of my freshman year of high school, four years ago, I was warned not to hold things off until senior year. I was warned that I would miss too much just to make it up right at the last second. Of course, I didn’t pay it any attention. I mean, what could go so devastatingly wrong to prevent me from enjoying my last year at Lebanon High School? Clearly, I wasn’t counting on a pandemic to shut down schools and chuck everything I thought I knew and expected out the window.

Talk about jinxing yourself.

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For three years, I barely even glanced at homecoming posters, football game announcements, let alone even dared to go all out for Spirit Week festivities. All because I was so positive that postponing these special events would be worth it to make my final year memorable. Suddenly, as if overnight, all that assurance vanished into thin air. So many possibilities were wasted, and there was no one to blame but me. 

Now that school is back in session with new rules and regulations, what am I to do? How can I make the most out of my senior year standing 6ft away from my friends, whom I only see twice a week? The other three days, I am completely disconnected from my classmates, as Zoom meetings—if ever—are few and far between.

Somehow, lunch has become thirty minutes of leaning over seats to hear muffled conversation. In fact, I have never experienced a quiet lunch in the high school cafeteria before this year. Even the small classes are less lively than they were before, I often wonder if that is because students can no longer have their whispered side conversations during lectures. You would assume teachers would have taken a liking to that new change, but I’ve noticed an increase in the amount of times teachers have attempted to create more class dialogue to fill the awkward silence. Only, they are often responded with a blank gaze. I guess they miss interacting with us as much as we missed sitting with our backs to the board—I mean talking with them too…

I suppose it’s the price to pay when choosing to be a hybrid student rather than a 100% virtual student. Ah, the perks. The two in-school days are spent absorbing as much information as possible to prepare ourselves for the other three days spent working online. This option allows students, like me, to have more opportunities for one-on-one help. Also, it’s the closest option we get to having a “normal” school year. Whatever “normal” means at this rate.

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As a senior, taking the SAT is a monumentally stressful experience in itself, but ever since the pandemic it has been even more difficult to find an open test center that still has available seats. The only reprieve I have from my stress ironically are opportunities that COVID-19 has made possible. For instance, I have never been more excited for the outlook of the school’s yearbook. Surprisingly, the time spent in quarantine has allowed the yearbook committee to recharge their creative juices and make the most out of this situation. Even more exciting, The Cedar Times becoming a club has gotten the attention of more students than I expected. Despite the dire circumstances, I learned to appreciate these rare moments of optimism, even if they aren’t in the form of standing in the bleachers watching a football game, or dancing to the last song of the night. 

What is high school without a little adversity? Lebanon High School is not one to cower away from hardship, and this pandemic is certainly not an exception. Change is inevitable, and I can learn to adapt and find the good in the bad.

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