2020-2021 Through the Eyes of Freshmen

“The cure for the pain is in the pain.” This paradox presented by wise Middle-Eastern poet Rumi in the thirteenth century is a perfect example of the daily plight faced by many around the world today. With the coronavirus invading our homes and bodies, it is hard to constrict oneself to the rules provided by the CDC and the government. But, alas, it is quite necessary, as millions have died, and even with a vaccine providing relief, no one knows for sure when this terrible pandemic will fade away. The cure for this pain is wearing a mask everywhere you go, which many find painful in and of itself, showing how Rumi’s wisdom ruminates in the world, almost 800 years after the sad but true words were said.

As freshmen at Wantagh High School, we have had an interesting experience so far this year, from being separated from our peers to not having any interactive lessons. Our teachers cannot judge our understanding of content from our facial expressions, and students cannot tell when teachers are cracking a joke in comparison to when they are being serious. Masks limit so much in terms of learning, but we are thankful for them for all they do in keeping us safe. We are thankful for the opportunity to go into school, whether hybrid or full-time, and are doing much better academically and mentally than last spring when school was shut down. 

Many classes are not the same as they were last year before the pandemic hit, but it is hard for us freshmen to decipher whether that is because of masks and the hybrid learning model or because of the transition to a new school and new teachers. We take rigorous courses, and find it hard to concentrate online, which does nothing to aid in our preparations for AP courses next year. Lunch is a large concern for many students, as removing masks in a public space is dangerous, even when socially distanced. But also, many students rejoice at the lunch hour because they finally can remove the constraints on their ears, nose, and mouth.

It’s almost arbitrary to title this year as “trivial,” but the freshmen of Wantagh High School have adapted to the new world that we all must live in, through diligent work and strict compliance to the safety rules set before us. This obedience has rewarded us with being the first grade in the school to return full-time, no longer fractured by cohorts. Some students choose to remain home for their own safety, but the general consensus is an excitement being omitted by the majority of Wantagh’s freshers. Wildly varied emotions are felt by everyone, but all those involved have done their part, so it’s almost fitting that only after working as a community while apart, can we be brought back together as one.