Pandemic kills juniors’ motivations

Keyla Holmes, Reporter

As the school year begins to come to an end, the class of 2022 must consider their futures just as society as a whole is doing, now that vaccinations are available, and hope is just as in the air as Spring. While things seem to be looking up, juniors’ heads are face down at their books and laptops as they prepare themselves for college. 

Due to the chaos of learning during a pandemic, and the divide of students receiving in-person instruction and at-home learning due to Martin’s hybrid schedule, the motivation to go to college is thrown into question. 

“I wouldn’t say I’ve actually lost or gained motivation for college itself,” junior Ethan Zeiner said. “I still want to get into my preferred schools as badly as I did before the pandemic, but it’s been harder to keep motivation to do the work that would help me get into college.”

As a result of all the changes that the pandemic has caused in the way that students experience school, the enthusiasm to go to college seems to have decreased among Martin students.

“Covid has decreased my enthusiasm a little bit,” junior Grace Connolly said. “I guess I was hoping that high school and college would both be somewhat fun experiences, but with Covid going on, it doesn’t seem like that’s going to be the case.”

Along with the lack of enthusiasm, the feeling of being unprepared for the college experience due to this year’s hybrid instruction is shared among juniors preparing for their futures.

“I feel a little unprepared for college because I feel that right now I’m not taking in and retaining as much knowledge as I would during a normal school year, so that’s a little worrisome,” Connolly said.

The importance of in-person instruction when preparing for college is expressed again when talking to yet another Martin junior.

“I do feel very unprepared because I feel that we would be receiving more preparation for college if we had been in person this year at school,” Zeiner said.

The divide of some students learning at home and some going to school in person has created some communication barriers that weren’t there before. Hybrid learning has to seem to have put a strain on teachers’ ability to not only lecture on subject material, but has affected the flow of conversation in relation to college. 

“I do feel like there is a lack of information but I also know it’s hard for teachers to communicate to every student in a way that they understand and are willing to listen to especially when half of us are at school and the other half is staring at a computer screen,” junior Olivia Monk said.

While juniors aren’t as able to engage in more organic conversations about college due to hybrid learning, students are understanding of the fact that everyone is doing the best they can, as well as finding other ways to gain useful and necessary college information.

“I think that the staff at Martin are doing the best they can to prepare us for college during this pandemic, and the College and Career Expo module on Canvas is pretty helpful,” Connolly said.

As we’ve all tried our best to accept what has been our new normal, Covid plays a significant role in the traditional college preparation process. Many colleges have been offering their incoming students virtual tours, rather than in-person ones. This Covid accommodation has impacted Martin juniors as they research different schools.

“I haven’t been able to tour any colleges which does make it pretty difficult because there’s something about getting a feel for the campuses and the atmospheres,” Zeiner said.

In addition to the many effects the pandemic has had on students, the excitement for college has been overshadowed by concern. 

“I do find it difficult to be excited because there is so much trouble and focus on student loans and student debt nowadays,” Monk said.

Excitement for the future has come second to the desire of just getting through the pandemic.

“Right now I’m just not focused on college,” Monk said. “I want to survive this pandemic before I worry about losing thousands of dollars.”

The worry and stress of college preparation may make it difficult for some students to feel excited, especially when there’s a pandemic in the mix.

“It’s difficult to be excited for college sometimes because of all the worry that surrounds it,” Connolly said. “The pandemic makes it seem like it will be a less enjoyable experience, and it’s stressful figuring out where you want to go and what you want to do.”

Though the pandemic has caused many obstacles and has affected students’ motivation and outlook on college, some students find hope in their future and have a positive outlook on the road ahead.

“I actually find it pretty easy to be excited for college right now because by the time my graduating class goes on to college, things will hopefully be relatively close to being normal again so I think that is a time to really look forward to,” Zeiner said.

While staying motivated and keeping a positive mindset for the future may be difficult in our shared current circumstances, Zeiner said he recommends seeing the glass half full in order to be excited for the major life changes ahead.

“I would recommend just having the mindset that by the time college comes, things will hopefully be normal again,” Zeiner said. “It’s just gonna take a lot of time and patience.”