How Has Covid-19 Affected High School Students?
April 7, 2021
On March 13, 2020, High School students across the nation packed their backpacks and headed out the door, getting ready for the regular week-long spring break that happens just about every year, but this was no ordinary spring break. For thousands of students, March 13th would be the last day that they step foot on a High School campus. Now, after what is probably the longest spring break in human history, I want to look back and ask the question, how has the pandemic affected the average high school student? What has quarantine done to our phycology and how has it affected the way we live our everyday lives and most importantly, what will happen moving forward for us High School students affected by Covid-19? As a high school student who has experienced both quarantine and the effects of Covid-19 firsthand, I want to shed some light on how much Covid-19 has affected the everyday lives of students across the country and world.
The biggest effect that Covid-19 has had on High School students is the mental effect of having to change our whole daily routines, find new ways to make friends, and deal with having no school events and in some cases, no sports. Months and months of lockdown have significantly changed the social landscape of high school and the overall mental health of students. You can almost feel the pain and emptiness that a lot of students feel since they don’t have school and their friends to fill the void in their lives. With school no longer being an option, the only way students could interact with each other was through social media which we all know can be a tricky and toxic place. Having social media be the only place where many students could interact with their friends has completely changed the social landscape for teenagers and has impacted our social skills and the way we interact with one another.
Another effect to come from Covid-19 is how much anxiety students feel now. From anxiety over the virus to anxiety over-preparing for college, High School students have been hit by stress and anxiety more than ever before. According to an article published by Riverside Military Academy, 60% of teens have reported worrying about a family member becoming ill from Covid-19 and 59% are worried about their parents/siblings catching the virus while only 10% said they weren’t worried about Covid-19. Another cause for stress for students especially for juniors and seniors is the fact that they might never have a normal senior experience filled with the joy of school dances and the excitement of Friday night lights. And the sad truth is that for the most part, the senior class of 2021 including myself will never be able to experience what prom was like or having the proper send-off of graduation filled with friends and family. Many senior athletes will never be able to play what could be their last season playing a sport before heading off to college to pursue other things. All in the blink of an eye, these things that we took for granted are gone and there is no way of getting them back and that idea alone has caused more stress for High School students than ever before. Another source of the stress is the fact that many students feel that not being in person has affected their readiness for college and many feel that they are not as prepared as they should because they don’t have the experience of their senior year under their belt which is a very important year where seniors start to prep themselves for college.
Because of students feeling unprepared for college due to Covid-19, college enrollment rates have dropped 2.5% which may sound small but it is twice the rate than the rate of decline in 2019. These are scary numbers and could be a bad indicator that more and more students won’t go to college due to the pandemic. Many students including myself struggled with our academics online due to how new it was to us and having no teacher there to guide us through lessons and helping us didn’t make things any better. Now that schools across the country are reopening, a lot of these stresses are finally starting to disappear, but the legacy that Covid-19 and quarantine have left behind is a dark one that will continue to impact generations of students for years to come and impact the futures of those unlucky enough to be caught in the crosshairs of the virus. Though things may be going back to normal, it’s hard to not ask ourselves the question, what if this never happened? What if things were normal? Unfortunately, I guess we really won’t know the answer to that question.