Graduating from home

Glebe Collegiate is deserted in this time of pandemic, and students are coping with learning at home and missing school life. Graduating students are especially affected – no prom night memories for them!   Photo: Liz McKeen

By Phoebe Seely

As a Grade 12 student at Glebe Collegiate Institute, I and the rest of my graduating class have been inevitably impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many students around the world, we have been given the task of adjusting to the new reality of completing school from home. While we are all content to do our part to help reduce the spread of this pandemic, it’s definitely not easy to spend our last year of high school at home.

As part of this new reality, I have begun the difficult and tiring process of adapting to online classes. I have realized that the art of working from home is completely centred around self-motivation. I am continuously fighting the ongoing battle of productivity. As a student interested in math and sciences, I have had to complete labs, worksheets and new material from my calculus class. The good thing is my classmates and I have learned to be creative in discovering how to work from home while collaborating with one another. I have really enjoyed the countless group Facetime calls and class messages that have brought just a little bit of normalcy back to this abnormal situation. I am also very grateful to all of our teachers and administrators who are working tirelessly to make this transition as smooth as possible.

As well as online courses, we are also adjusting to being at home full time. I am very thankful to be part of a supportive family in a safe home, which is greatly easing this transition. Needless to say, working from home has presented some challenges, including finding time and space to work and relax independently. However, after setting up a schedule and creating my own personal workspace, my family and I have fallen into a daily rhythm and routine.

The shutdown of schools also means graduating students are missing out on our final moments of high school. There’s no denying it’s very difficult to accept and comprehend not being able to savour the experience of my last moments at Glebe Collegiate, including my last coffee house performance, my last caf cookie and my last lunch in the library. Though a part of me feels sad, I am able to jump back into reality and realize that the small losses I am experiencing are helping to prevent larger and more profound losses in the community.

Another source of stress for graduating students is uncertainty about plans for the future. Many students are still awaiting answers about university and college acceptance for next year. Though I had the good fortune of being accepted into my program of choice for next year, I am still unsure what my life will look like as a first-year university student.

My main method of dealing with these uncertainties is simply to focus on the positive aspects of my life and stay grounded in gratitude. Positivity is being displayed worldwide, and it brings me joy to recognize the elements of good within society in the face of this adversity. While my situation is far from what I would have wished during my final year at Glebe, I feel incredibly grateful to be provided with food, a safe home and online education.

I believe we are all doing our best to embrace the change while grieving the lost memories.

Phoebe Seelyis a Grade 12 student at Glebe Collegiate Institute.

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