Sophomore and Freshman reflect on 2021-2022 school year
June 6, 2022
As the 2021-2022 school year comes to a close, Freshman Gabrielle Rothenberg and Sophomore Maya Schlessinger reflect on their experiences during their time at Pascack Valley.
Sophomore Year Reflection
As I finish my sophomore year, I can’t help but feel like it was my first year of high school. I could easily navigate the familiar building and workload. However, socially, everything was different from a “COVID year.”
Going to school every day all day was a stark change from last year’s hybrid schedule. School became my whole day, not a small part of my day at home. Because of this, I’ve started to take ownership of Pascack Valley and see it as my school. I saw myself and those around me make efforts to make it an environment they want to be in.
Clubs and activities brought life to the once half-empty school. Non-virtual Valley Cup was a key aspect bringing the community back together. At each event, I saw not only my own class, but the whole school come together. It is unlike any virtual event that could have been planned.
The transition of club meetings from Zoom to in-person brought events back to life.
I found knowledge and community in World Culture’s Club meetings. In-person cooking and dance activities made it feel like a different club than the one I’d joined last year because of how interactive they became.
I was no longer watching meetings take place; I was now taking part in them.
Being able to cheer on PV sports was a game-changer. Every Friday night in the fall, I knew where the whole school would be. The unification and socialization on the football field’s bleachers were unmatched. Fan and senior nights for various sports were special games students were now able to attend.
My relationships with my teachers were even better than last year. They know me as both a student, and as a person. They often work to cater classes to our learning styles and personalities.
Due to last year’s cohorts, there was a whole half of my grade that I didn’t know. This school year, I met so many new people, and made so many new friends.
Lunch gave me lots of time to talk to people, especially compared to last year’s scarce moments in passing.
I can recognize that a number of students and staff worked to make last year the best it could be, but it doesn’t stop me from wondering what my freshman year would’ve been like. if it was my first real year of high school.
Freshman Year Reflection
Moving from middle school to high school is always a big adjustment, but this year was a little different than usual.
I remember walking into school for my freshman orientation and meeting all of my new teachers for the first time. Having spent the second half of my seventh grade year virtual, the first half of my eighth grade year hybrid, and the second half of my eighth grade year in person with masks, shields, and social distancing, this year was an adjustment.
Luckily, all the teachers were very understanding and tried to help with the adjustment as much as they could. Some teachers started off strict, however, they all eased up a little to allow for us to settle into the new routine. Many of my teachers knew that we were a little behind on our knowledge of the material due to COVID, and made themselves available for extra help sessions.
For the past year and a half, I have only been in school for half of the day. Being in school for almost seven hours isn’t as hard to get used to as I expected; lunch and Pascack Period help with the transition because I have a break between classes.
In middle school, especially during COVID, work was significantly easier than it is in high school. Coming into high school and taking much more rigorous courses, I had to learn proper study habits, and improve my time management skills. Since I no longer have half of the day to do homework and study, I have found my afternoons more packed with work and less free time.
Pascack Valley has lots of extracurricular activities and sports and being a part of some of them definitely made my freshman year more enjoyable. Tennis was one activity I participated in that allowed me to make new friends and have fun outside of my academic life. These aspects of high school opened up opportunities to meet new people and try new things.
With the end of freshman year approaching, I have picked out all of my courses for next year. While choosing these classes, especially my electives, I had to put more thought into my future than ever before. I wanted my electives to be geared toward my future career, so I sat down and thought about what I wanted to do as an adult. None of this was really a factor in my middle school class choices.
Overall, I am so glad to be back in person for school with all of my teachers and friends, especially for my first year of high school. As the year comes to a close, I now see why high school is such a special time in someone’s life.