In 2020, a deadly virus called COVID-19 spread all over the world, leading the whole world to go into lock-down. Theatres, public spaces, and even schools were shut down in order to keep everyone safe from the virus, and Fay school was not an exception. For the past few years, I have attended Fay school in Massachusetts. As a boarding school, Fay offered many activities for students to alleviate their loneliness and discomfort away from their parents. However, after the pandemic broke out, public activities, including going to Boston for shopping, sports games, and even being in close contact with peers. These new norms made me feel especially lonely because they restricted me from meeting new friends or going to public spaces. I felt isolated and helpless.
After the pandemic broke out, students were forced to attend school through an application called ‘Zoom’. This process was tiresome for all students and teachers since it was everyone’s first time teaching or learning through our computer screens. Fortunately, after only a term of online-learning, I was able to go back to school for a new year. However, my excitement of meeting my friends face-to-face again was dampened by the new rules that Fay school had implemented for the new semester. To ensure the students’ and the faculties’ safety, the school made wearing masks mandatory and required everyone to stay six feet away from each other. All sports games were cancelled to minimize the number of students on campus and classes became relatively smaller. These rules only brought dread to all the returning and new students at Fay and the faces of excitement were no more. Although the situation seemed exhausting and gloomy, I was able to find some silver linings from the new norms. One of the positive aspects was that by having smaller-sized classes, I was able to interact with everyone on a deeper level and got to know them like never before.
[After the pandemic, Fay School went through a term of online classes]
Another inconvenience due to the new norms was dorm life. Before COVID-19, dorms were the bonding agent for students to form family-like relationships. By spending a lot of time together in the dorms, students used to become brothers and sisters. Sadly, this year was a hard year to form close ties between dorm mates because of the new rules mandating the students to keep social distance, making it difficult for students to interact and have fun with their dorm mates. However, I was able to spot some bright sides too. For example, since I was in my room most of the time, I was able to get closer with my new roommate more than ever. My Chinese roommate and I hand-made various games to entertain ourselves while we were stuck in our room, disconnected from the others.
Finally, the new rules also affected dining at Fay. Before the pandemic, every boarder at Fay school would gather in the dining hall to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, since large crowds were not permitted anymore, the school had to alter the longstanding tradition of dining. Specifically, boarders were divided into grade levels to have designated meal times: 7th and 9th graders would have dinner at 5:30p.m.; 8th graders would eat after the 7th graders at 6:30 p.m. Adding to that, before COVID-19, each of the 18 tables at the dining hall would be occupied by ten students from various grade levels and one teacher to chaperone, a good way to help students socialize with not only their friends but also those in differing grade levels. However, because students were divided into grade levels this year, there were a limited number of people whom I was able to meet while dining and was disappointed at the fact that I would not be able to meet new students at Fay school. This rule was especially harsh for me because last year, I was able to make so many friends every two weeks by sitting at tables with those whom I had never met .
|[Email from the school, designating grade levels to specific meal times.]|
Due to the pandemic and newly instituted rules, many students, including myself, had a tougher year. All that we can hope for is for things to return to how they once were and for all students to be able to enjoy their rights as students, interacting, socializing, and learning in an active environment.
Minseong Kim email@example.com