A Student's Perspective on the Effects of COVID-19
Jariel Ruiz, a sophomore at Cristo Rey Boston High School, discusses his experience being a student during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID was very unexpected. I was playing basketball for my 8th grade team, and we were 11-1. It was an exciting time because we were on our way to winning the championship and got to play at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. After basketball practice one day, I went home and watched the news with my mom. On the news, they were talking about something called COVID-19.
I was nervous because I didn't want our championship game to be canceled. The week after, while at practice, we received the news that the game would still take place. I was relieved and was looking forward to the last game of my middle school career. We were able to play the game and won while the whole school was watching. That whole moment was beautiful and I celebrated with all my friends and teammates.
So fast forward two weeks, we found out that school was canceled for 2 weeks and we would have to learn at home from our computers. At the moment I thought that was the best thing that could have happened, but little did I know we would be remote for the rest of the school year. Life drastically changed at home too. I had to wear a mask and couldn't go many places. My family and I stayed home and were worried.
My ring ceremony and my graduation were postponed. I felt stuck at home - I couldn't workout or play basketball with my friends because everything was closed down. I struggled with remote learning. It was harder for me to keep track of my work, and being on video, in front of the computer for 8 hours every day was very difficult. When the school year ended, I found out that we were able to have 8th Grade graduation in-person. The graduation was amazing.
I began high school that fall, but 9th grade was tough because school continued to be remote. I couldn't focus at home. It was so hard just to wake up and get on a computer for 6 hours a day and do work. After the first half of the year, we were able to spend some days at school and some days remote. I was able to get my grades up, but it was a difficult year.
Losing out on basketball was big adjustment for me. I was supposed to travel around the country and play basketball, but I couldn't because of the pandemic. It was also hard to play basketball in a mask. Now life is starting to return to normal. Places are opening and I can play sports again.
Jariel is now a sophomore at Cristo Rey Boston High School, and spends some of his time interning at MEFA. As he reflects on his experience with the pandemic, we acknowledge a common thread; that it has been challenging for students to stay on track and keep grades up with the ever-changing school experience. One thing that students and school counselors can consider is utilizing MEFA Pathway.
MEFA Pathway is Massachusetts' free online portal designed to help students plan for academic success through middle school, high school, and beyond. It's available to students from every corner of the Commonwealth, as well as educators and parents, and provides an array of tools and resources to create an informative and engaging web experience. MEFA Pathway makes it easy for students to connect interests and aptitude to college and career plans, explore career options through fun activities and assessments, and customize the college search to suit preferences. Visit MEFA Pathway to get started.