How A Freshman and Senior’s Experience This Year Compared To One Another


Max Torres

Torres and Jorgensen both relied on running and basketball respectively this year as a way to cope with school.

Max Torres, Sports Editor

The 2021 school year was something nobody could have predicted back before 2020. Attending classes almost completely online for nearly ¾ of the year, sitting on a computer or another device the entire day, and missing out on normally expected activities and school work were all part of students’ lives each day. While every student had a less than ideal year, it is interesting to take the perspectives of both a senior and freshman and compare their different experiences. Were there any significant differences between these two groups? How was their education affected, if at all? We interviewed a freshman and a senior at Highland High School to see what they had to say.

Maile Torres, a freshman at HHS, is a busy student, hard working athlete, and great friend to everyone. She went through the majority of her first year in high school at home, which was not easy whatsoever. When asked to compare this year to ones in the past, she was able to list some important things.

“I noticed that my grades were a little worse and overall my motivation to do well in school was a lot less, I think it was mainly because you didn’t have that in person support from teachers and peers,” Torres said.

Many students of all ages felt the same way as Torres, feeling less desire to do school work which resulted in lower performance and grades.

In order to try and make up for her lack of motivation, Torres needed to put an extra amount of effort into her activities outside of the “zoomroom”. She resorted to things like exercise for example to distract her mind from school.

Torres said, “I’ve done a little bit of running, and I think that just trying to preoccupy myself with getting homework done or just practicing other hobbies of mine has helped.”

Running has been a form of release for Torres when she needed to get away from what was going on at school. This helped her to focus on different things in her life, effectively making her more well rounded and gave her a healthier outlook on life. But there were always times when these strategies would fail, and Torres would need to rely on someone to help her through.

“I think having a little bit of an outlet is important when you’re in these types of situations because it makes you feel like you have someone you can go to in order to help you cope with things you are going through,” she said.

This is great advice, and proved to be super beneficial to Torres has she continued on through the school year.

Torres did not have the greatest freshman year of all time, but she was somehow able to look past that and see that others may have had similar or even worse trials than her. This was quite admirable.

“ I think that this year was a little different considering that it was my first year of high school and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But I think as a senior, you have experienced some things and it might be worse to know that you’re missing out on things that you know have been done in the past,” Torres stated.

This was an interesting insight to the situation, and one that many seniors from Highland High and schools around the world could attest to.

Andrew Jorgensen, a senior at HHS, also went through the same trying year that Torres did. His experience in school both from home and in-person was different from hers however. He agreed though that this year was more difficult than those of the past, and that it may eventually prove to have several consequences.

“My senior year it was harder to learn the material in classes due to online teaching, and I noticed the change from real learning to just busy work in many of my classes because we were on zoom. As a senior I had to take college preparatory classes and try to learn college skills on zoom, which was difficult,” Jorgensen said.

Jorgensen’s remarks would also be agreed upon by the majority of students, just like Torres’s thoughts. The actual education that students received drastically changed from years before, and many times it wasn’t necessarily for the better. As a senior however, many classes are at a much higher level of difficulty and really require all the attention and energy that students have to offer. From this issue to missing out on many eagerly anticipated annual “senior events”, Torres’s point seems to make more and more sense.

Jorgensen also had many different ways of releasing his emotions and getting through the year. One thing seemed to be in common with Torres however, and that was getting outside for some exercise.

He said, “I have coped by playing tennis, basketball, and getting outside so that I could get some fresh air. These things have helped me get my mind off of the world and what is going on at some points.”

Physical activities like basketball or tennis have been helpful to Jorgensen as he has worked his way through this unprecedented year. It seems like most everyone would agree that some form of coping was a critical part of being successful this school year.

Even though this year was tough, both Torres and Jorgensen have been grateful for the things they have learned while enduring it. They are happy to be able to experience something that  not many people in history have done, and they are also glad that things are getting better. But with that said, they are extremely hopeful that next year will be back to what they used to know. As does everyone these days.