Normal frightens rather than comforts


Presley Plant

Student doing homework outside of the school in order to catch up with her assignments.

Hearing that the school year of 2022-2023 is “the reset year” after all of the many unpredictable events that erupted during the seniors’ high school experience (coronavirus, online schooling, teacher shortages, school shootings, etc.) has turned many excited emotions into feelings of distress and anxiety. Many students call this their “lack of preparation” due to their lack of knowledge of what a regular school year consists of. Resulting in the many abnormal responses to the question “Do you feel prepared for school?”

In a poll of 80 kids here at Perry, 75 percent feel that they are not ready to return back to the normal school environment. For seniors, COVID hit mid-freshman year resulting in an unknown schedule leading into their sophomore year of online unconventional school policy. As junior year came, COVID kept fluctuating in numbers. But senior year has not attracted any unusual events creating an unfamiliar environment of calmness and normality. What do these students do when they do not know what normal is?

Senior Zach Tomlinson responded, “Because it’s my senior year, I feel less prepared.” For Tomlinson, this is his first year at Perry. He switched from Hamilton because “more of my middle school friends were going to Perry.” Tomlinson’s life before Perry guided him toward this unavoidable situation (school work load, stricter school policy, different lunch regime, etc.) for him and all seniors. This unpreparation is created through these students’ inability to recognize what a functional school environment looks like.

Like Tomlinson, freshman Austin Brown feels a sense of unfamiliarity. Although his feelings originate from the unique way of schooling different from elementary and middle school. “I just don’t know what to expect, and I don’t know what the teachers expect of me. It could be completely different from junior high. The difference between these two responses range vastly due to their previous experiences. These events have completely disturbed an average high school experience even the idea of a manageable high school experience has been tarnished in the eyes of freshman. 

Schools in the Chandler Unified School district have been creating policies that make school environments easier to adjust to, accommodating to the students’ needs whether they are incoming freshmen or brand new seniors. Though the majority of students feel as if school is too much to handle, these past couple of years have shown students that they can handle a lot more and rather than conquering unique challenges now they just need to conquer normal.