By Shadrak Musafiri
University of Washington News Lab 

A senior year lost: 2 E-W Class of 2020 students share coping strategies

 
Series: Coronavirus | Story 175

Last updated 5/12/2020 at 10:14am

EWHS

Lilly Greaves, left, and Vania Liu

With Washington public schools shut down for the rest of the year due to the coronavirus, students at Edmonds-Woodway High School are having to find new ways to adapt to learning online.

One of the biggest challenges for some is the lack of an instructor physically in the room. Without the proper classroom structure and schedule, some students are having difficulties maintaining a cohesive schedule.

"A challenge for me is having to maintain a regular schedule because now I've turned into a night owl," said Vania Liu, a senior. "It's hard to not treat it as a big break."

The absence of in-person interactions with teachers has made learning more challenging for certain students, especially taking into account technical hiccups along the way.

"The biggest difference for me has been the ability to communicate with teachers and to get quick responses to questions," said Lilly Greaves, also a senior. "I miss seeing everyone, not only my friends, but just the classmates. I miss the classroom dynamic."


From being in classrooms filled with peers five days out of the week, to currently learning through a screen without friends and classmates, being socially distant has disrupted the familiarity of what students' day-to-day lives used to be.

"I never knew how much I valued everyday interaction at school," said Liu. "Those little moments are basically gone, and that's been kinda hard."

As abrupt as the March 13 school closure was, Liu said she managed to adapt to learning online. Virtual classes allowed Liu to be more flexible with her all-around schedule, a luxury that wasn't accessible with structured classes.

"It feels a lot more independent, and I like that because I can work at my own pace," she said.

Even though graduation, prom, assemblies and spring sports have been paused or canceled, students say they are finding ways to connect with one another.

As challenging as this season has been for everyone, Greaves and Liu have focused on their hobbies and making sure they keep in touch with their friends and loved ones. Connecting, for them, can be anything from sending a quick text to scheduling a Facetime call.

"The biggest challenge for me as an introvert is trying my best to reach out to people," said Liu. "I can get complacent with being by myself and my family, but I have to remind myself to check up on classmates and teachers."

Both Liu and Greaves said they are spending some time outside, as well.

"I've been doing a lot of painting, going on walks, and every Thursday I meet up with six of my friends in our high school parking lot to catch up," said Greaves. "We each stay 6 feet apart and sit on top of our cars with snacks."

With Greaves and Liu both being a part of ASB, they're working together with other students to come up with a plan to celebrate this year's graduating seniors and a way to thank their teachers at Edmonds-Woodway.

"We're planning a parking lot drive-through to thank our teachers with posters and balloons for them," said Greaves.

As a form of celebrating the seniors at Edmonds-Woodway, the ASB team created an Instagram page celebrating the accomplishment of their seniors. The page features a photograph of each senior, as well as their plans after graduation.

The importance of celebrating senior year no longer relies on high-profiel events such as prom, senior night or graduation, but rather the comfort of being united, Liu said.

"At this point people don't mind having prom in the gym," she said, "as long as we all get back together."

Shadrak Musafiri is a student in the University of Washington's News Lab. This story was written in collaboration with Beacon Publishing.

 

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