We are living in extraordinary times. For those who have lived through disasters: hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, drought, wildfire, this disaster appears unique to all of us. The need to isolate, socially/physically distance from family and friends is totally counter intuitive and makes no sense to us as a human race. Our world is topsy turvy and despite the fact that we are home and think that maybe this is a time where it might be more laid back, it seems more hectic. Our schedules are more thrown off than before. I suppose it is because we had so many appointments and events specifically scheduled through the end of the school year and now, we have to rebrand our schedule and lives.
So, seniors, who are in a mourning state with a loss of celebration and tradition, you have every right to feel the way you do. I urge you to be flexible in thinking, stay healthy, and know that your teachers, your administrators and counselors, your parents are doing everything in their power to make sure you can finish your year in the best possible way. Know they are as off kilter as you.
Scheduling and Online Learning
Remember: Even if accepted to university, you still have to have your final transcripts sent in to your accepted university. Your last semester grades will still count. Don’t blow it. Pass/Fail is not as easy as it looks. And, the grading scale may be more difficult. Check with your teachers to make sure what a Pass looks like.
Online classes: Most of you are taking online classes- this may be the first time you and your teachers have conducted school in this manner. Whether your teachers have posted assignments or are conducting lectures online, double check the process. Stay in contact with teachers. In addition, it may be helpful to form online study groups with peers. It will help you stay focused. Be patient, for many, this is the first time classes have been conducted in this manner.
Also, your internet connection server may have free educational and coronavirus information. (if you have an activated remote, say “coronavirus” or “education” into your voice-activated remote). Don’t get frustrated with your server, it may be slow. Mine slowed down today when on a group meeting. It’s the way of the world today.
Setting up your Study Space: This is your life until graduation. Find a good spot to study. You will need this. Do this in an area that is conducive to learning, Learn to use the platforms your school is using. Don’t get frustrated… it will come, be patient with yourself (and trust me when I say, your teachers are getting used to the same platform as well). A lot of the vendors (AT & T, Xfinity, etc.) are providing free service if necessary, or extra speed if necessary as well. Be sure you are protecting yourself physically from carpal tunnel syndrome, neck issues, etc.
Also, set up a firm study schedule. This will be important. While school is a firm schedule, your schedule might look more like a college/university schedule. Your teachers may post assignments and have you sign in later. Give yourself some breaks during the day. Don’t think this is a time for you to slack off. Remember, your eye is on the prize… the diploma.
AP: It is very important to remain in touch with your counselor at school about AP exams (College Board). This will be an ever changing scenario. By now, you all know that the AP exams have switched to a 45 minute format to be given at home. What we know is that AP exams are used for college credit, what we don’t know is what colleges will or will not take these courses. This will be a case by case basis. https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap/news-changes/coronavirus-update
The other piece with this will be dealing with international universities and how they will process these AP exams.
IB Exams: IB Exams have been canceled:
From the IB website: “The student will be awarded either a diploma or a course certificate which reflects their standard of work. The achievement will be based around the students’ coursework and the establishment expertise, rigor and quality control already built into the programmes.”
IB results will still be released by 5 July.
For details, go to the ibo.org
Assume you are going to have Final Exams or final projects. End on a good note, knowing that all this is good preparation for your next step: university.
Extracurricular Activities: a new way to think about it
Extracurricular activities: As we know, extracurricular activities are cancelled or going online. While sad for everyone, everyone is in the same boat. It will not reflect poorly on you whatsoever. It is just a matter of finding replacement activities:
- You can get involved in a variety of activities:
- Political campaigning
- Check in on neighbors
- See if any seniors would like groceries
- Virtually read or tutor younger students
- Tutor fellow students in your school-virtually
- Learn a new skill
- Sharpen other skills
- Clean out your room in preparation for university
- Arrange a social distancing group
Really, the sky’s the limit.
Some activities from school may be able to remain intact online.
April 1: by now, all your acceptances are in. It is decision time.
Accepted Student Days: This generally happens after April 1. Needless to say, these are all cancelled. When you receive your acceptance letter, you may be given instructions on an altered online accepted student day alternative. Some schools are moving deadlines, some aren’t. You just need to contact each school. Deposits at some schools have been moved to June 1, others remain a firm, as do their response date. Check with each school.
Financial Aid/Merit Aid: Many around the country/world have had changes to their finances. Reach out to universities to see what can be done with your package. Policies vary at each university, but, if you don’t ask, you will never know. If one’s financial situation has changed due to loss of job, assets, business, the financial aid office is the first place to start.
Waitlists: This is the big unknown. There was a study out a few weeks ago by The Chronicle of Higher Education and Niche stating that students may change their minds and wish to be closer to home. Might this free up spots at university? We just don’t know. This is a wait and see moment.
Personal Self Care
Stay fit: It is important to be physically active. You can get out and exercise. There are plenty of programs online. Daily Yoga for one, if you belong to a gym, I would bet that they have classes online, go out for a brisk walk or run, you can even meet up with friends as long as you are physically distant. By all means, check with what your state requires as far as physical distancing/social distancing. If you are in a state that is not practicing social distancing, use good judgement. You want to arrive on campus in the Fall in good health.
Keep in mind, that once you leave for college, family time takes on a new look. Take advantage of this time with your family. Yes, I know, you have naturally taken on a form of independence. Go back into the fold. This is a time to stay close. Pull out the board games. Watch a great series together on Netflix. Plan a great family vacation when this is all over.
International Students-coming to the US, going abroad: Keep in mind, getting your visa may take a little longer. Once your visa is in hand, you may be asked to quarantine for whatever the country you are arriving in requires. Give yourself time to do this.
Don’t forget: your final transcripts need to go to your university. Keep in touch with your high school to determine how they plan on sending your transcripts off to the university of choice. It is particularly important for those who are in the IB and need their final scores sent to universities where their acceptances were based on those scores moving forward.
Gap Year/Community College: Due to COVID-19, you may decide not to attend school or wish to take a Gap Year or attend Community College and try to find a job in the community.
There is so much more to write, so much more to say. Stay connected to friends and family. Have Skype/FaceTime hour with your friends. Our neighborhood is having a ‘bell ringing’ every night at 8 pm. Some neighborhoods are having a six feet apart tailgating gathering. Whatever you do, remain a community as best as you can. Finish strong, you are the generation essentially born with technology, use it to your advantage. Build new traditions within your family.