If someone were to tell me at the beginning of my junior year that I would be finishing it online, I probably would’ve laughed. Last month, however, when Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart announced public schools in New Mexico would close through the end of the fourth quarter, I felt like a huge piece of my world was being ripped out from under me.

In theory, not having to go to school is every kid’s dream right?

Wrong.

To me, school is so much more than just seven hours of classes. It’s my second home, the most consistent part of my routine, and the most convenient and simple way to see my friends every day.

Online learning, to say the least, does not compare to the classroom whatsoever.

I never thought I would miss writing on paper or being lectured. But I do. I really do. It’s hard to learn AP biology and trigonometry without one-on-one help from educators or collaboration with peers. Frankly, having a video conference with each teacher for half an hour a week does not compensate. I honestly don’t feel like I’m learning much at all these days.

The workload that comes with online school varies a lot from teacher to teacher. Some give one assignment a week, and others overload us with more homework than we ever received when we were physically in school.

I’ve found myself losing motivation quickly. School is a relatively defining feature in my life, and to have it ripped out from under me is not only bizarre but heartbreaking. Clicking away at the computer, trying to digest new data, is already difficult, but to do so when I feel emotionally exhausted is even more draining. I just don’t have the energy or enthusiasm.

Of course, I am aware the shutdown is necessary to slow the spread of the virus and keep people healthy, so despite my personal frustrations with online learning, I’m glad schools are closed in response to the pandemic. Still, the idea of not properly finishing this school year alongside friends is hard to accept — especially if the shutdown continues into fall, when I start my senior year. To start my final year of high school on the computer would be one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. I can only imagine how sad seniors graduating this month must feel!

I miss my teachers, I’m sick of looking at a computer screen all day and, most of all, I miss the certainty I had about the rest of my high school life. As of right now, nothing is guaranteed. It’s not only a scary thought; it’s a sad one.

Ivy St. Clair is a junior at Santa Fe High School. Contact her her at ivy.ian.st.clair@gmail.com.

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