by Hannah Borkenhagen ‘20 (De La Salle House)
I didn’t expect to begin the last quarter of my senior year learning AP Government from my living room with a 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins game playing on TV, but here I am. On March 13, Trinity students had their last day of in-school classes for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19. The switch to learning from home has been different, but not difficult. The start has been a bit scrambled–with teachers quickly moving all their instruction online, and students figuring out the new system at home without the same support. My patience has been tested, with teachers posting assignments later than I would have liked or posting assignments I found confusing, but this time is a learning experience for us all. Teachers post assignments in the evenings for the next day or early in the morning, some on Rediker and others on Google Classroom. The assignments that I have been given are as similar to what I would be doing in the classroom as they can be outside of it. The biggest challenge for me has been coordinating with my parents when the house needs to be relatively quiet so I can focus, and me learning that the house cannot remain in perpetual silence. As an auditory learner, not being able to hear my teachers lecture and teach has been another difficulty, though internet videos have helped to fill the gap. Soon teachers will be adding a video conference component to their teaching which will give us a chance to ask questions “in person” and connect with each other. Teaching myself 100% of the material for a whole school day is a new experience for me, as it is with many other students, but I have surprisingly taken very well to it. I like being able to complete assignments mostly at my own leisure with a cup of tea and listening to music, or Penguins games.
Earlier this year all Trinity students were given Chromebooks, and I, along with many other seniors, saw little point in them giving us the computers that late in our senior year, because when would we need them? Now I cannot imagine going through this pause on in-school learning without a computer of my own, as my parents have needed to use our old family laptop and computer for their jobs. Because of the Chromebook I have been able to better complete my work that our old home technology would have made more difficult, and doing on my phone would have been impossible.
Since I am a senior, the closure of school and cancellation of events has been especially difficult and disheartening. I do not play a sport or do a springtime activity for Trinity, but many of my friends do and I see their frustration with having their events cancelled or paused at the last minute. We all have been working all year, or even lifetimes for some, for different things that were supposed to happen this spring but will not. Some senior athletes could have played their last high school game last year without knowing it. We have yet to learn about the fate of prom and graduation, the two things that I, and many other seniors, have been looking forward to all year, but not knowing what will happen is worse than if we knew. The hardest part about not having school right now is the uncertainty about if we ever will be together as the Class of 2020 again. Not being with each other for the last few weeks of high school has been difficult, we all miss each other and will never get these days back.
However, I am grateful that this happened in a small way though, I think if this had not occurred I wouldn’t have appreciated the last two months of high school as I will now. Being so quickly pulled from my friends and school has made me much more thankful for them. I don’t think there will ever be a dull day at school that I will be totally unhappy to have had now. I will always let my friends know how much I care for them now, and will always tell my teachers how I look up to them and how wonderful they are. I hope that the underclassmen see how upset we are now and how quickly our lives changed and will now appreciate each day of the short years of high school even more now. I hope we all learn to love each other a bit more, live each day to the fullest, and get the most out of our hours at Trinity after this ends. We are angry, but know there is nothing we can do to change the situation other than staying home so that the virus will pass quickly and we can be together again. Learning from home has been different, but learning without classmates and friends is even more painful. I do think this will pass, and we will get the rest of our year back and be together as Trinity once more.