Kayla Fagan reflects on her senior year amidst COVID-19

I remember arriving at high school as a freshman at the crack of dawn - eyes still puffy from staying up late the night before - entering the building saying to myself, “I can’t wait until I’m a Senior.” When senior year did arrive this past fall, the feelings of the seniors were infectious throughout the school because we all had much to look forward to. All that occupied my mind all fall was college and scholarship applications, hanging out with my friends at prom and graduation, and my internship at WCA through the Her Honor program. The Spring term, however, brought unanticipated chaos.

The Coronavirus pandemic took the world by storm.

There was just no way to escape it. Everyone’s whole universe has gone through a sudden shift. The term “social distancing” has, in some instances, become a social law. It really isn’t an exaggeration to say that the world has been disconcerting and flat-out scary lately.

I’m naturally a person whom a psychologist would  call an ‘empath.’ I am grateful that my immediate family has not contracted the virus, that I still have food on the table and a roof over my head. My heart aches when I think about children – especially females – who must isolate themselves in abusive households. I know here in our small apartment it took my family and me a while to get accustomed to being around each other every day.  I constantly wonder about those families where adults are not able to work through their issues or the kids where school was their only escape from the difficult problems at home.

I find myself just constantly worrying. I worry about my Mom who is a healthcare worker at a local hospital. I worry about people who are unemployed and have a family to feed.  I worry about my extended family because most of them work in the medical field and still must go to work each day.  I worry about those who have gotten the virus and are in the hospital. I then worry about myself. I worry if I am passing my classes, picking the right college, and worry about my mental health and well-being.

My routine since this sudden shift occurred has been off, for lack of a better word. How off you may ask? Going to bed around 4 am and waking up at 1 pm has become my new normal, because there’s too much to worry about. My Mom works night shifts so I often stay up thinking about homework and then spending my day helping with housework.

I think school should be canceled for the rest of the school year.  Meaning no online work either. From the experiences echoed on social media by students across the United States, many teachers are very inconsiderate with the workload that they are giving. They often give more work than they actually did when we were in school. I believe that is very unfair because we are in the midst of a global CRISIS. People are dying. People I am close to are dying and I worry if I’ll be next.

Many of my friends complain often about how unfairly we are being graded. It is to the point where many of us want to give up. Many of us have household responsibilities that take up more of our time than before. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed trying to do my schoolwork and everything else that I don’t even remember to eat. Many teachers are making it really hard on their students and I feel like during a time like this they should have more consideration. It makes me question if they actually care about our well-being.

On top of all of this, Seniors do not know if we will be able to start college on the actual campus that we have been looking forward to for a long time. Many of us have worked so hard volunteering, doing internships, working, and spending sleepless nights doing school work so we can get good grades and attend the college of our choice.  Staying home to study was not part of that dream.  It makes us sad and even harder to stay motivated.

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Kayla Fagan is a high school student from Mount Vernon who has been interning with WCA since September 2019 through the Her Honor Mentoring program.

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