By: Pauline Francez Gordula
Dear rising high school juniors,
We will be entering the most tumultuous year of high school virtually (for some of us, at least). It’s not the most ideal picture, but it is, without a doubt, the safest option. Most of us may be anticipating how this bumpy school year will look like: how are we going to effectively learn class material virtually for an entire year when we have been conditioned to learn in-person? I can’t imagine taking a hefty load of AP/IB and honors classes virtually. Classes that demand such rigor are better off to be taught in person. I also can’t imagine not being able to participate in extracurricular activities. Isn’t that the point of extracurricular activities -- to foster learning through physical interaction?
I hear and acknowledge our plights. Trust me, I am not the biggest fan of remote learning either. However, as I attended more and more classes virtually, my eyes opened to its unsung beauty. Remote learning is fantastic because of its flexibility. I can do my work at my own pace and I can easily retrieve relevant resources regarding a certain homework assignment at the tip of my fingers. While in “class”, I can also multitask without worrying about my teachers’ watchful gaze (lol). Over the span of four months, I’ve also found a vast network of youth-led organizations and opportunities that cater to almost all educational interests. In short, remote learning lets you enter multiple academic dimensions at once.
However, one of my top concerns is standardized testing. Recently, the College Board and ACT have released testing dates for the upcoming school year. Although this is a good move to appease our worries for the future of standardized testing, I think it’s counterproductive. Not everyone has the money to pay for this test -- especially during such an unprecedented time when millions have filed for unemployment. Not everyone can also access their test centers without fear of contracting the virus. Ultimately, it is unsafe and nerve wracking to gather students into a room for three hours for one test amidst a pandemic. Millions of students have prepared for this test, but if their health is at stake, what is the point?
Our generation is known to be tech savvy. Without the pressure of standardized testing, we can seize numerous opportunities online that can help us cultivate our skills within the safety of our rooms. We can learn something, we can create something, we can join something -- just through a single search on the world wide web. We are now transitioning to a world where we have to solely rely on the technology for learning, and I encourage all of us to take advantage of it. We don’t know how long the pandemic will exist, but let us not be swayed from achieving what we can.
Though at the expense of all our efforts, our overall health shouldn’t be neglected. We are a driven and resourceful generation, but living in such time can cause us to overwork ourselves. Every time you feel burnt out, take a step back and breathe. You are an intelligent and driven young person, but at the end of the day, your health matters the most.
A concerned rising junior