Roanne Jubee Lee / North Hollywood High School 9th grad
I’m back to school, and by that I mean, I’m actually back on campus physically. Just about six months ago, I was doing classes online and chatting with my classmates through a microphone on my laptop. A lot has changed since then.
Now, school is almost back to how it used to be before COVID-19. Most people are allowed on school campuses and meet their teachers and classmates in person. There are still some restrictions due to the virus, such as wearing a mask, but other than that, school is back to normal.
It took me a while to be back to school. Instead of staring at the screen for seven hours, I was looking at my teacher and my classmates. Device time was limited during class, and I was slowly learning to socialize in person again.
During the one year of social distance learning, I always had my phone out because there was no one really looking over me. Nobody knew what I was doing behind my screen and my microphone was off. To be very honest, my attention span also slowly started to shorten because of my phone . I would continuously find myself scrolling through my instagram pages and texting my friends. Of course, I did try my very best to learn and focus, but it was not easy.
My social skills were also not necessary during social distance learning. The virus kept me from meeting my friends and classmates so I didn’t have anyone to socialize with except for my family. My family were my best friends but I sometimes wanted friends my age as well. As much as socializing is important, the decreased amount of communication I had with people led me to forget how friends were made. This built an invisible wall around me when I went back to the school campus this fall.
This year was my first year at a new school with new friends. No old friends. On the first day of school, I was very nervous because I knew nobody and it was high school. I always wondered what high school would be like, and was curious to know if it was just like how it is in the movies. But I had nobody to walk with, talk with, or eat lunch with. There was no drama or even an interesting event going on. I would walk in the hallways alone everyday. It was a repeat. Nothing interesting or fun happened.
Unlike middle school, I had to rush to my next class after each period. My day would be full of running through campus, and across the school yard during P.E.
My first month of high school went by with uneventful days. Most of the days, I was alone. I mustered my courage one day to ask a friend to eat lunch together one day. It took a couple weeks for me to do so, but I decided to give it a try. I had a few opportunities to have short conversations with her, and I could tell that she was a really nice person. Finally, on a normal Thursday, I pulled a trigger and asked her to eat lunch. My heart was beating so fast until she said, “Yeah, of course!”.
Just like that, we became best friends. Through her, I realized how important it was to have a friend. We would share about random things about school, classes, and our ups and downs. Instead of silently eating and scrolling through my phone during nutrition and lunch, I am now laughing and joking around with my friend.
I also made other friends at school, and one of them is in my P.E. class. We would always complain about all the workouts we have to do, but cheer when we don’t have to do any workouts at all. Having her makes P.E. a hundred times better than it was before.
I really enjoy going to school now. I slowly but surely learned how to surround myself with friends, socialize with them, and to build relationships with people. I no longer want to sit in front of my screen for hours. I want to cherish all the moments I get to have with friends, from cracking jokes during lunch to even saying good-byes after school, because I had taken them for granted during the last year and a half of social distance learning. I’m extremely grateful for my education and where I am as a high schooler.
Roanne Jubee Lee / North Hollywood High School 9th grade
<Roanne Jubee Lee / North Hollywood High School 9th grad