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Here are more reflections submitted by my students as part of Global Student Project My Return to School During Covid19. My students look forward to reading their peers’ reflections from other Jesuit schools around the world.  

Returning to School: Adrian, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA 

I chose this image because it represents my feelings and experiences best. I have had many opportunities to attend events or classes in person, which were only for a few weeks, but I have been stuck in my house otherwise. For example, I have seen many other students in class while myself and other students are remotely learning at home, which makes me guilty for not making an effort to . Although the option to attend class in person is available, my parents’ and my own fear of Covid-19 has prevented me from continuing that experience. This has me staying at home learning from my surface, which I am also grateful for as there are many other people out in the world not as fortunate, but I am also missing out on fun activities I could be doing in person, such as labs in physics. This makes me frustrated that I must make a trade between experiencing Bellarmine to its fullest potential and being safe at home without risk of contracting Covid-19. Being “locked” in my own home has me looking at the world from my windows and computer screen as I cannot experience it for myself, which leaves me feeling lonely. If I do leave the house however, I must wear a mask and stay socially distanced from others, which takes the joy out of walking around in the world. I understand these precautions are meant for the wellbeing of everyone, but it takes away from my personal experience of being out in the community. Overall, this image is meant to express my fear of Covid-19 and how I am perceiving the world physically isolated from others not in my family.

Returning to School: Aidan, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA 

At the beginning of Covid, we all thought it was going to be a couple weeks before everything would go back to normal. Who would’ve thought differently? Our generation hasn’t experienced a pandemic before. Everyone, including myself got excited about staying home and just not having to go to school. As the weeks went by, we started to realize how much freedom with took for granted. Hanging out with friends and seeing other people. Little did we know, those weeks would turn into months, and into a year.

For me, I have come to accept Covid and deal with the change. I wasn’t too fond of it but there is no going against it. I came from a relatively small school with only 23-26 students a class, so me and all my friends kept in touch throughout 8th grade. Since we all shared common hobbies and interests, we stayed very close to each other. I’ve heard of lots of people yearning for their friends, complaining they can’t see them. I feel truly blessed that I have friends to talk with throughout this pandemic.

This image represents what I feel in this pandemic because I have stayed extremely connected with my friends. We talk a lot through video games, social media, and text messages. We sometimes help each other out in homework and stay happy (besides video games but that is just banter). Another thing the image represents is how close we are to each other. Although we can’t touch each other through a screen, we can know what they are feeling and doing most of the time.

Returning to School: Ben, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA  

I feel confused for many reasons. To start, when covid first hit last year, I thought it was going to be only a week or two. When I realized that covid and social distancing and wearing a mask was going to stay for a while, I knew that I needed to try to get used to it. The main reason why I am confused is because I don’t know if I think covid was horrible, but I know it was not good. What I mean by this Is that I feel like covid had its benefits like getting my work done at my own pace and allowed me to focus more time outside of school on myself and to get better at sports I play. Yet the bad parts are of course me not being able to see my friends and family and having to be remote from school for so long. In conclusion I honestly don’t know how to feel about covid but whatever it is I know this past year was the hardest of my life.

Returning to School: Ben M, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA 

My Covid-19 experience has been pretty usual, meaning like many others it was pretty awful. I would say the hardest part for me was the initial lockdown, that lasted up till and past 8th Graduation. I had been attending my previous school for six years and it was hard ending my experience at NSA the way I had to. I felt very “isolated” a word we use all the time now, when I should have been feeling very united with my fellow classmates. Once, graduation passed I thought to myself, “now what?” I didn’t have a goal to work towards, or anything really productive to do, which definitely made the days of Summer 2020 blend together. Summer was just as hard as the last couple months of “school.” It was hard not seeing my friends every day and then when I would see them, having to follow social distancing practices was a pain. I felt very unlucky.

Now looking back on my Covid-19 experience knowing the fact that we as a human society are almost out of this nightmare, I recognize how foolish I was, and how “not-awful” my Covid-19 experience has been. I was one of the luckiest. I can’t name a single person I lost to Covid-19 that had a major impact on my life. I didn’t lose a cousin, or aunt, friend, a friend’s parent, a past teacher, or anyone I knew to the Covid-19 pandemic. Sure, lockdown was hard, and going to public school online was a total mess, but I didn’t have to worry about my parents losing their job, or if I would be able to complete my schoolwork. If this pandemic has taught me anything it is that you have to have some perspective on the world around you and your life. I have it lucky, I might not get to see my friends every day, or certain family members regularly, or feel bored and have nothing to do sometimes, but I can deal with that.
Ben M, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA

Returning to School: Darryn, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA 

My Covid experience has been very interesting so far. Though many people can say the same, I will tell you why my Covid experience had been interesting. When Covid-19 first broke out, I just put it off as something that was temporary, maybe a month or two. But I was wrong. Time felt like it blew by so fast, I graduated 8th grade, went through the summer, and now I am in high school. I could not hang out with my friends from 8th grade in the summer, but we played our games online. We still found ways to have fun. To me, I can still remember moments and experiences from this sequence, it felt so fast that it felt like that was only some months ago. During the pandemic, I felt bored, lonely, and confused.

When I started high school, it felt boring. Nowhere to go, just sitting at my desk for the day. Then, Bellarmine announced that they will be starting some in-person classes. I started doing that and it felt good. I felt more focused and engaged while on campus. Being on campus for me changed my Covid experience. I met some of my classmates and had fun. But I look forward to what is to come next in this pandemic, whether it be more quarantining or the end of the pandemic. Whatever comes, I will take it on and do my best to keep going and going for success.
Darryn, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA

Returning to School: Eli, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA 

My life living under the Covid-19 pandemic has been going not so good, but also not so bad. When I first heard that we were not going back to school for a good amount of time I was excited because I disliked waking up early every morning and then having to walk back home from school. The first couple of days of having no school was peaceful because all I did was play video games until they started using zoom for class. For myself, I can say that online classes at first did not seem too bad, but after a while, it got me mentally drained.  But I decided to make the most of it and think positively about it even though there weren’t many positives.

I’d never imagined how badly I wanted to go back to school, not even for school, but to see my friends that I have not seen for a couple of weeks. I was confident that my mom would let one of my close friends come over and hang out and she did. I was grateful that I had spent more time at home because that just meant that our family got closer because we had more time with each other. Now that Covid has gone down, there are sports happening, people allowed back on campus, and everything is looking in better shape than it was last year. I was very thankful to meet new people at bellarmine while playing football or even if that meant meeting people through online classes.

Returning to School: Jay, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA  

COVID as a time period was one that was somewhat tough for me, learning online and being restricted from visiting friends/family. Specifically, I had a tough time when I realized I would not be able to visit my grandparents who I haven’t seen in a while who resided in India. I thought to myself about the limited time I may have to see them as well as the increasing risk of COVID. Moreover, online learning was a challenge for me because I rely on social interaction to effectively learn. I understood the concepts but did not feel like I was truly at school. Some days I just didn’t want to get up out the bed and attend classes. But most of all, I feel like the effect of the pandemic forced all of us to seemingly be afraid of people. We can’t interact with others without precaution, a norm that has hit me hard. Overall, COVID has shown me to difficulties of restricting social interaction and to be grateful for the people I have.
Jay, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA

Returning to School: Jonathan, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA 

During the pandemic, I have been able to realize how much I took time for granted. Time with family and time with friends. Every time I use my phone, I can always see pictures of me and my friends before the pandemic. I will always cherish them and grateful for those memories. I do not see my grandparents that often so remembering when my Lolo and Lola always used to babysit me after middle school when my parents were at work will always make me feel appreciative for them. When I do see my family, I try to cherish that moment if possible because you may never know how long you will have them in your life. And you might regret not spending time with them as much as you could have.

Some upsides I have gotten from this pandemic is being closer with friends. Obviously since we are in a pandemic, we cannot see our friends in real life every day like we used to. So, my friends were still able to talk to each other every day after school and play video games together. We meet up at a park to play basketball or football. I do not take the time with them for granted either because I may not see them in the future. That is why I’m trying to live to the fullest. Even though corona is the worst, looking at the positives God’s plan got me to take time with my loved ones seriously because I will regret in the future if not.