Snap Back To Reality

   Walking through the huge glass doors branded with cardinal and navy stripes, I was unsure if I was entering a high school or a New York City subway station. The hallways of Eastern buzzed with chattering teens, eager to be roaming the halls after what was supposed to be only a 2-week break.

   I observed students from different grade levels and noted their contrasting moods. The seniors strut around with their heads held high, knowing they are at the top of the totem pole. They look forward to the day when they can finally move their tassel to the left of their graduation cap. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the fearful freshmen have confusion written all over their faces. They are intimidated and nervous since their last full year of school was sixth grade. The juniors feel content; many of them are excited to get their license… and their freedom. But where does that leave us?

   I am entering my sophomore year of high school, but I feel like a freshman. I cannot find my way around the long, cement building without the digital map favorited in my photo app. I do not know where or when to eat lunch. I constantly forget what time each period starts and ends. I rely on a teacher holding my hand, guiding me through school, but I know I am no longer a little kid and must let go.  I spent my true freshman year in a small gray box on a computer screen, which became outlined in neon yellow when I only unmuted to say “here.” 

   This year, I must step out of my small gray box. I need to transition back into reality- back into a 7:30 am to 2:00 pm school routine. I hope this year I can join clubs that COVID restricted, make friends without the awkward breakout room conversations, and overall experience the opportunities offered during a normal high school year.