Transitioning out of high school during COVID

Perspective and apprehension from a graduating senior

By Esmee Halsted

Graduates of the 2020/2021 class are transitioning out of high school during a pandemic. As such, there is plenty of apprehension regarding the next phase in their life. Their senior year and high school years should have prepared them for life outside of high school. Still, the pandemic has affected their readiness and plans for after high school. Archer O’Brien, Gilpin senior, has had her own experiences during the pandemic.

High school is meant to prepare you for college and work life. Archer feels that Gilpin School could do much more, with or without a pandemic. “In general, I don’t largely believe school truly prepares me for leaving home. I feel we should have more classes applicable to real life situations like financial literacy. Now more than ever with the pandemic, I feel like schooling has gotten even worse. I took online classes for a semester via Colorado Digital Learning Solutions (CDLS), not through the alternative WebEx online sessions with my school teachers, and I felt some of my classes were not well put together.

Going to school online for a semester did not help Archer’s preparation and readiness for life after high school. She noticed her people skills have gotten worse during quarantine and online school. She feels that her future might be easier if she had been around people more this year. “I’ve always been extroverted around friends and in theatre, but with strangers I am very introverted and I feel I have gotten worse with this.”

Archer plans to find a theatre internship in backstage operation before going to college. She always planned to take a gap year between high school and college anyway, but the pandemic solidified her plan. When it comes to prepping for college, she is going to do so during her year off. “I have not done much prep for college because of how overwhelming school has been this year along with everything else. I am going to apply to colleges during my gap year.” The lack of monuments, senior events and in person connection has been hard for Archer. “It just feels like my senior year is sneaking up on me.”

All in all, such a big transition during a global pandemic is very difficult for Archer and other seniors. Making future plans at this time is extra difficult, with the unknowns of COVID-19 and elevated school stress. Despite the many benefits of a small community, one downside is limited opportunities. This has caused some students to envision additional classes at Gilpin, designed to better help students prepare for the real world. While Archer chooses to look for internships in her gap year, other students are planning on working or going right away to college. Still, the pandemic has affected student preparation and readiness for college.

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