By Neil McNerney, Parenting With Purpose
This month, I have asked a local high school student, Logan Wagner, to share his perspective on what it was like to be a high school student this past year. In my opinion, it captures many of the ideas, issues, and challenges that our children have faced. As a parent, I hope it helps you understand your children as they are reintegrating into their worlds.
Over the past year, I have grown more as a person than I think I ever will, and I am fairly certain many others would agree with me.
I can recall the time in my sophomore year when my friends and I would make jokes about our school getting shut down due to the Covid-19 outbreak, but we never thought we would have our junior year of high school stripped from us.
As one of the few students who has been virtual for the entirety of the year, I can say without a doubt that this has been one of the hardest experiences of my life. I had to maintain friendships, grades, and relationships all from my bedroom. Frankly, I felt set up for failure. Nevertheless, I tried to persevere through the never-ending boredom and loneliness that was quarantine until finally I would be able to go to school again. Unfortunately for me, that day never came. I spent my junior year of high school cooped up in a room and the only way of communicating with someone was through a screen.
Many of my friends were back at school by the second semester, which made it even harder to maintain friendships when you were the only one not being seen on a daily basis. Admittedly, perhaps I could have been more focused on schoolwork rather than social interactions, but how could anyone focus on the former when the latter was so soul-crushing.
Through the experiences I have amassed from this past year I have learned so many valuable lessons. I have learned to persevere, even when the going gets tough. Sure, this sounds cliché, but to a teen whose only plight is what time dinner is taking place, it is quite an important lesson to learn. I have learned to self-teach. As many of my teachers would show more focus to my classmates who were participating from a classroom, this forced me into teaching myself a lot of the skills learned throughout the year. Perhaps more important than my other lessons learned, I figured out how to rely on myself.
I feel that we, as a society, rely too much on our neighbors to provide for us. We rely on social interaction to get us through our day, we rely on our partners to care for us, we rely on loved ones to stay together. Generally speaking, we rely on people to maintain the typical behavior we expect. But when all of that is thrown out the window, who else will you expect it from?
Lastly, I have learned to never take things for granted. Again, it sounds cliché but is imperative to be learned at a young age. As a child who has been fortunate enough to never have had to deal with the death of a loved one, or a privilege being taken away, I never knew what it was like to take something for granted. I took advantage of being able to see my friends, go to school, and visit my family. This is something I will never do again. We all take things for granted subconsciously. It’s not like we sit down on the couch every day after school or work and be grateful for having a couch. But if we can take some time out of our day to be thankful for what we have, especially knowing now how quickly all of it can be taken away, I think something as devastating as this will feel a whole lot less unbearable in the future.
Logan Wagner is a rising high school Senior.