What it’s like to be a senior on campus

Reconnection underway

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Aidan Meek / Talon

Alex Gaspar, Opinion Editor

“Where’s the H-building? I need to ask a teacher for a letter of recommendation.” 

These are the words of a fellow senior student here at Oak Park High School. 

The idea of senior students, who have typically been on campus for three years, not knowing where their teachers’ classrooms are for a letter of recommendation is flat-out absurd and blatantly illustrates the disconnect that is plaguing us 12th graders. 

To cut to the point, the last year and a half have proved to be some of the hardest times for all of us. For seniors like me, this is our first full year back on campus since freshman year. The COVID-19 pandemic has felt like a bad fever dream and has quite frankly left all of us feeling like there’s no more to life than mask mandates and social distancing.

In a way, it feels like I should be walking to my sophomore year classes, but yet I find myself living out the senior experience through a thick pile of college applications and deadlines to fulfill. 

The feeling of jumping from sophomore year to senior year has been abrupt to say the least, leaving a definite disconnect between seniors and the ordinary activities that come with being a senior. 

The first home football game versus Buena High School solidified my stance on this disconnection. From going to near-zero school activities to jumping straight into the bright lights on a Friday night left me and other senior students looking from the outside in. It felt almost fake, as if I was watching a movie, to live out our lives the way that we used to. 

We’ve all adapted to the new circumstances of life, and thus discarding these practices rather quickly left me feeling skeptical of how life once was. The same thing happened with homecoming, the first rally and just being back at school in general. 

Don’t get me wrong — I’ve had loads of fun at all of the school events, but I think all seniors can relate to the fact that something has just felt … off. 

Whether this feeling is rooted in a lack of facial connection (resulting from masks) or simply being back on campus after a year-and-a-half hiatus, it’s certainly easy to acknowledge that it exists in some form. 

Our senior class has been through the wringer — the Woolsey fire, Borderline shooting and remote-learning to name a few examples — so I’m very confident that these jitters are merely temporary. With time, the burden of feeling disconnected from our senior experience will lessen. 

For me, I already know it has.

We will continue to reconnect with our school, our social lives and, more importantly, each other. The class of 2022 has never backed down from adversity, and I know we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. All it takes is a little time.