Opinion: Transitioning from middle school to high school in a pandemic


Lilah Crone

Freshman Amy Leon works in her World Geography course among her classmates.

The transition from middle school to high school is usually seen as a big step, but for those like myself, who went into virtual school during the final nine weeks of 8th grade, it was an even bigger step.

When lockdown originally hit, I’d anticipated that I’d finish my middle school education online and begin high school in-person, but this proved to be wrong. With virtual learning my freshman year, I got quite comfortable with the setup I had in my own room, and having control over my own environment and schedule was something I definitely took advantage of. When it became time to go back into a classroom, the change took me by surprise, and adjusting wasn’t exactly as smooth as I expected it to be.

Having to get back into a pattern of rotating through classrooms was one thing. It took me about a month to figure out how to get around in the school. The hallways were a breeding ground for mental breakdowns, and the anxiety that came with being around crowds of students was something I didn’t handle well the first few weeks. Furthermore, I had to figure out where to go in the lunchroom. Not only did I not recognize anyone, but it was, once again, extremely crowded, and don’t even get me started with the lunch line itself. I felt so overwhelmed that I eventually burst into tears, and I just wanted to leave. Prepared was the last thing I felt during those first few weeks of getting into things.

With the end of virtual classes, I no longer had the luxury of waking up at noon, and I now had to keep track of when my bus arrived in the morning, which meant getting up extremely early. Even in middle school, I had the privilege of leaving at 8:30 a.m., so when I had to catch my sophomore year bus by the ripe hour of 7:30 a.m, my body clock was thrown off so drastically it took some trial and error to form a sense of routine. My body did not adjust well to the new changes I was making against my energy and appetite. 

Homework was, and is, something I also had to deal with again. When you work at home, there really isn’t any homework since all of your work is already homework anyway. Once I’d finish for the day, that was it. I wasn’t used to the added amounts of after school assignments since obviously, high school required that hard effort.

Out of all the issues I had figuring out high school, the awkward feeling of being thrown into it all felt so sudden that getting comfortable took awhile. The immediate change of my new surroundings and simulations became pretty overwhelming. Not knowing how to communicate with my peers didn’t help either. With time and guidance, I eventually got some sort of grip on how things worked. Obviously some of these things haven’t been completely resolved, but they have definitely gotten better. At the end of the day, the best way to go into high school is to just keep your head up. Try your best, and just like anything, you’ll figure it out.