Senior year interrupted: Coronavirus comes a-knockin’

This is not the senior year I had in mind

Katie New High Res2

Editor’s note: Katie Burke, a senior graduating from Timberlane Regional High School, will be sharing her thoughts with readers this spring and summer about what it is like to be a high school senior getting ready for college. Part 1 was written in March and early April.

Senior year has gotten a lot more complicated.

A couple weeks ago, I was getting ready for college, applying for scholarships, and counting down the days until graduation. I’m now wondering if and when I’m even graduating high school.

All students of New Hampshire schools are now being quarantined in their homes. It was originally supposed to be until April 6, but now I don’t think anyone really knows how long it will be (Editor’s note: on April 16, the Governor extended remote learning through the rest of the year).

As a senior with less than one semester left of high school, this is not the most ideal situation to be in right about now. Most of my senior class is worrying about things like the senior cruise, the prom, and even graduation getting canceled, which isn’t something any of us thought we’d be worrying about at the beginning of the month.

Something else that bothers me is how all my friends who went off to college came home, but I can’t even see them. We’ve been reduced to occasionally chatting via cell phones and playing Minecraft, which is the next best thing I suppose.

The least favorite part of this is the cancellation of things I was looking forward to. I’m a part of my school’s improv group, the Milkmen, and so far, we’ve had one show canceled, and my prediction is it won’t be the last. I was also in a play, a comedy called “Love Sick,” that was canceled. We did get one performance in so at least we had that opportunity.

The NHMEA Classical All-State Music Festival was also canceled, which is definitely understandable, since it’s a large gathering of many different people from many different places. As a bass player, I was really bummed about that since I had made All-State every year and now, during my senior year, it was canceled.

As we started remote learning, I found the school work was not hard at all, since I don’t take AP classes. I just dedicated one day of the week to taking care of all the work for my classes, and that was it — definitely a plus for this situation. More time to catch up on video games. Initially, it was described as being different from the workload they give for a snow day, but the amount of days I’m staying home is the only real difference it seems.

The first few days of the school shutdown consisted of me laying on the couch with my dog while my mom worked and we all watched “Breaking Bad.” I guess that technically counts as a science class.

Thankfully, the new Animal Crossing video game was released a week after the beginning of the quarantine, so I have a new video game to spend hours and hours playing. Sure enough, I’ve played it almost every chance I’ve gotten, even playing online with a few of my friends, so — social, right?

Unfortunately, the game was too good and my dad ended up getting hooked on it, too, so I have to share the controllers and in-game building resources with him now. (He’s terrible at it, but he tries.) At least it gives me an idea of what having a roommate is like and having to share everything, since Animal Crossing New Horizons has become my life now. It’s nice to be able to be outside virtually and do what I can’t right now in the world of Nintendo.

We’re doing our best, though. Our school’s improv group was able to attempt a pre-recorded show over Zoom. The main challenge is the lack of a live audience and being able to hear if people are laughing or not. Performing comedy live versus filming it ahead of time is very different. It’s hard to know whether a scene is successful or not, so the whole thing is kind of risky. Not to mention the technical aspect of it when there are 15 people with their mics on in one call; it can get a bit chaotic.

As time goes on, things don’t seem to be improving. When those two weeks of school were first canceled, I actually thought that would’ve been it, and that I’d go back to school after that. However, about halfway into the first week, it was pretty clear that it would be more than two weeks. Sure enough, I’m stuck in my house for the next month and a half at least.

I’m trying not to be overly dramatic about all this, because I know I am far from having it the worst. There isn’t anything I can do about this, so I just do what I can. It’s not like it’s only me — people all over the world are all going through the same thing as me and the rest of my family.

Plus, not everything to come out of this is bad. It has proven that a lot of people can still work from home and be able to do their jobs, which makes me think if anything will be different after this all ends. This shows that the internet is a very valuable resource that has made the world easier. Everything about this would be totally different and far worse if we didn’t have technology to rely on to keep the world running.

Katieburke1Seeing people helping other people has been really great as well, like restaurants donating food to families who need it, or people just handing out masks and antibacterial products to others. There might not be a clear ending in sight, but that doesn’t let people give up hope.

Katie Burke is president of the Timberlane Regional High School’s orchestra and the Tri-M music honor society. She is a bass player who performed in the jazz combo, jazz band, chamber orchestra, orchestra and rock ensembles and in a number of musical pit bands during her time at the school. Katie is a four-year NHMEA All-State musician and she performed in the school’s improv troupe, The Milkmen. If the creek don’t rise, as it were, she’ll be attending the University of Southern Maine to study music education in the fall.

Categories: Education, Senior Year Interrupted, Teen