April 2, 2021

A Different Fall: Celebrating Senior Year Amidst Remote and Hybrid Learning

Monty Nuss

School is back in session, although not in the way we’ve come to know it. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to re-imagine the school experience as many students are dealing with full-time remote or hybrid learning experiences. For high school seniors, this can be especially challenging. As you enter your final year of school, the ability to bond and connect with your classmates will most likely be more difficult than expected.

However, there are still ways to create a positive senior year experience, and it’s important that you start crafting that narrative right away. While many of your senior year milestones such as prom and graduation occur during the spring, there are many events during the fall semester that shouldn’t be overlooked. When you look back on your last year of high school, your fall moments may turn out to be some of the ones you remember best.

We’ve got a few tips to help you navigate this most unconventional of senior years. But first, we want to remind you that it’s not too late to schedule an appointment for your senior pictures. Many schools have fall deadlines for yearbook pictures, and we don’t want you to be left out of the yearbook because this deadline falls off your radar with remote learning.

Take Advantage of the Activities Still Available to You

Many fall sports seasons have been canceled or altered due to COVID-19 concerns. If you’re a high school athlete unable to compete this fall, take advantage of this opportunity to get involved in other school activities that are still being offered. Most of us won’t turn professional in our sport, but discovering a new activity during senior year can potentially unlock a new passion that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.

Work with Classmates to Re-Imagine New Ways to Hold Popular Activities

It may be challenging to hold socially distant school dances, senior carwashes, theater performances, battle of the bands competitions, Halloween events, holiday parties and many other activities that typically occur during the fall semester. However, that doesn’t mean these events can’t exist in an altered form.

Reach out to your senior class officers to find out if there is a committee working to plan fun senior year activities during the fall semester. If so, make your ideas known to this group or see if you can become part of the committee. If not, find out if it’s possible to organize a group to make sure your senior class still has some fun events that they’ll remember for the rest of their life.

Explore New Opportunities

Fewer after school activities and decreased time socializing with friends will most likely add a significant amount of free time to your schedule. How are you planning on using this time? It can be a great opportunity to explore future career and vocational paths.

While our economy is struggling, there are certain industries that are still experiencing growth during the pandemic. Many businesses are seeking interns to help manage their needs. Some of these opportunities may be remote, while others may require an in-person commitment. You should be able to find an opportunity that accommodates your level of risk tolerance, and it can help you acquire important skills that will help you transition into college and adult life.

Maintain Contact with Friends and Classmates

A year of social distancing and remote learning doesn’t mean you have to become completely isolated from your classmates. Senior year is an important time to solidify childhood friendships that may last a lifetime. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

Phone calls, group text chats, video conferencing and social media are great ways to maintain contact with your classmates during a socially distant senior year. This will pay dividends in your academic life as well as your social life. Group learning is a powerful tool for many students. Seek ways to work collaboratively with classmates on school projects if you’re in a remote learning setting.

Take Care of Yourself

Perhaps the most important thing you can do during your fall semester is to take care of yourself. Senior year is challenging and stressful under normal circumstances, and the COVID-19 pandemic only magnifies these stressors. The following tips will help ensure you focus on your own health and well-being:

  • Get plenty of exercise – Staying active will provide mental health benefits in addition to keeping you physically fit.
  • Pay attention to shifts in moods and feelings – Reach out to friends and family members if you feel like you need support. You may also want to consider speaking with a mental health professional if you find you’re struggling to cope with a challenging year.
  • Eat a healthy diet – This will provide mental health benefits in addition to ensuring you maintain proper levels of nutrition.
  • Get plenty of sleep – Sleep is always important, but being well-rested will set you up to more successfully navigate the different challenges associated with a unique school year.

Soak Up Every Moment

This may not be the way you envisioned your senior year, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be memorable. Pay attention to the moments as they arise and take the time to reflect on what they mean to you. You can still have a meaningful senior year full of stories and memories that will last a lifetime.

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Monty Nuss

April 2, 2021