Carrying No Cross

William Z. and Laila G.

Sometimes change is a necessary part of advancing in the world. It may come unexpectedly, or it may be the past repeating. Yet how we adapt is representative of how we as individuals act. But is it still representative of us, if we don’t know how to adapt? We feel clueless, without any true sense of direction, and still we are forced to continue as if nothing has happened. Many people suffered during COVID. The loss of life and any contact with the outside world was gone. COVID’s impact on students is immeasurable. School shutdowns disrupted development for children and teens. 

Covid ruined me. Even almost three years on, the ripples of it can still be both felt and seen throughout our school, and specifically current seniors. But that’s what it is, the past. We’ve moved on, and nearly forgotten everything, from the few that excelled to the many that failed. Dramatic? Maybe, but that is what I’ve heard, or at least felt. It even took me around three months to plan this article, as I found it hard to even write words about something that drastically changed my and many others’ paths. One such person was Laila Gaines, fellow writer and artist for the Wildcat. Seeing as she was also passionate about our post-covid world I asked for her own thoughts, and this post-covid period in her lens.

“I was a freshman going into my second semester. I had a lot of death going on already and COVID enhanced that. At 15 losing my best friend was hard, but the depression I experienced from fear of this sickness, loss of human contact, and being unable to leave my home killed all my ambitions.” It’s easy to forget that we as humans have individual problems, even with a mundane outside appearance; as stated, many already had full plates before COVID, before being overwhelmed even more, sometimes to no fault of their own as mentioned. Teachers were under so much pressure, and students felt so disconnected from their classes, that it changed the dynamics between the two. LAUSD struggled to keep a hold on its schools. Laila mentions. “My counselor had so many students and demands. It was hard for her to make time for me and my needs. A good support system is important to anyone, but especially to those who are still developing. I understand that it was a hard time for everyone, it can feel as though some were favored, while others were forgotten. We also brought up a huge decline in mental health, in which we both took a toll. “Many during COVID were depressed or extremely under stress. How could we keep up when teachers were throwing piles of homework on us day after day?” Further validating the obvious decline in mental health, unhealthy work habits were also developed. But it’s not 2020 anymore is it? Yet we still feel it, or too many don’t feel like it at all.  “The aftermath of COVID was better but still difficult when it came to learning. We had to learn how to get back in a flow while teachers were still throwing their all at us. My school also had many distractions. Fights, police, fires and shooting threats.Not everything should be negative as she points out, but it’s still hard to avoid, if not move on. “College counselors and counselors’ offices have been packed. Making it difficult for counselors to reach everyone.” The current convoluted state of administration across all of the district has been surprising, in the way that it always seems to find a way to outdo itself. Considering the difficult transition from online learning to in person again, many students were left in a limbo stage, where they were not enrolled in either their physical school or City of Angels Virtual Academy. Combine this with the lack of knowledge over the college application process. That or students covid grades have tainted their records, and even with hard recovery work, doesn’t seem like enough for Colleges.  “I was left in the dark when it came to college until second semester junior year when I was finally approached about college and it was short.”

As we look retrospectively, it is easy to dismiss all the problems we’ve faced as being a product of its time, and just in the past. While the push to move on and forward is commendable, it seems like the way we are trying to look forward in a post-covid time seems bleak, focusing on short term perceptions over true long term benefits. As I am writing this, it’s easy to get emotional and rant about the problems and unfound solutions given to not only seniors but other students, teachers, and staff. Yet, it seems like it is all I have, forced to look behind a glass screen, mindlessly observing and nearly forgotten if I hadn’t forced myself to return; I don’t know if there should be another response. Well, other than being forced to conform.

Dedicated to class of 2023.