Monday’s with Ms. Marvel: back to school


Morgan Kong

In her weekly column, Monday with Ms. Marvel, Wingspan’s Trisha Dasgupta reviews different political issues and relatable topics in everyday life.

Trisha Dasgupta, Editor-in-Chief

After more than a year of virtual school, I came back to on-campus learning last week. 

A year of staying inside, being isolated from friends and family, and perpetual worry died down in late February after my grandmother and parents were able to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone differently, and every day I am thankful that I had the ability to stay at home, head out for only essentials, and do everything in my power to keep my family and neighbors safe. I think about the healthcare workers, the essential workers on the frontline, and all of the scientists who were able to create a vaccine less than a year into this pandemic. The ones who kept working and kept the world turning despite those who refused to listen, who acted selfishly and recklessly, and didn’t take this virus seriously. 

I think about my teachers, who have done everything to create virtual learning environments that were conducive to each student’s needs, and take into account our situations. 

I chose to attend virtual school last September because of the fact that I lived with my grandmother, who is very high risk. I waited to come back in-person until she was safe, and I am happy with that decision. However, coming back in-person has definitely been the best part of my year, and I am so happy that it was possible for me to come back safely.

When I started this virtually, I had no idea the toll it would take on me. Different students have different experiences, and while I was able to keep my grades up and participate in my extracurricular activities virtually, the virtual academy was very difficult for me mentally and emotionally. 

My teachers were great and very accomodating to my peers and me, doing everything they could do to have a productive and still empathetic learning experience, however, virtual learning was just not a good fit for me. 

As someone with ADHD, it took me ten times the amount of effort to focus in class and get my work done, only to get the same grades as I would have if it was a normal year. At the end of every day, days that were filled with hours and hours of zoom calls, I would be so drained mentally that it would be incredibly emotionally taxing to even get my homework started. The burnout by the end of the first semester was very real. 

There was also a feeling of resentment, in the sense that I felt like I was doing all of this work with little payoff. Junior year is already supposed to be the toughest year of high school, however, there are usually tangible benefits that make the hustle worth it. 

This year I was in the ISM program, and usually, months of research culminate in a presentation at the Ford Center in January, where you get to showcase the work you did and see the impact of your work and research. That didn’t happen this year though- instead months of research and hard work ended with me clicking submit on Canvas at 10:30 on a random Friday night. 

Not everything is about validation, but after spending years thinking about getting into the independent study program and making a presentation, it was really disappointing that I didn’t see my goal seen through. 

I know things like these are minuscule in the larger scope of the pandemic, however, it was still disheartening and didn’t help with my burnout or lack of motivation. 

We’ve all had to sacrifice certain things in order to help bring this pandemic closer to the end, and I’m happy that the end is finally on the horizon. 

I’m still social distancing and being safe outside of school, but just being back at school, seeing my classmates, seeing my teachers and being able to focus in class without it taking all of my mental effort has been a really rewarding experience after the year we’ve had.