Why does the outdoors seem so unusual? Not so much the sight of the outdoors, but rather the feeling of being outdoors. This was a question I pondered upon as I entered the doors of my highschool. I nervously walked through the front office, into the main hallway, which led to the cafeteria, then boom- I saw my peers and the upperclassmen for the first time. Although I was there to help decorate the school hallways, it felt as if I were back at school, pre-covid. It was a feeling that I hadn’t felt in a while.
As a freshman, I am a representative in my school’s student council. Student council is a group of elected and volunteer students who work together to organize school events and activities. With my school year transitioning to online learning, all events and clubs, including student council, had to adapt to the new reality. Although most of the year, so far, has consisted of council meetings and event planning, it was something I knew I loved to do. However, our class never saw each other physically, only on sites such as Google Meet. That led to consequences, such as a lack of communication, and even conflicts and distrust among my peers; planning for events got weary from time to time. Eventually, in the middle of March, our class advisor had announced that we would be able to finally see each other in person.
The news of seeing each other face to face sparked joy among all my classmates, as I saw their faces on Zoom light up with bulging eyes and wide smiles. I was ecstatic. Our class advisor announced that we would all be allowed to decorate our school together for an upcoming orientation. Although it was something that was not considered a huge activity in student council, I still loved the idea of meeting my classmates. The day eventually came when I could work with my peers. I was nervous to meet them, but I also felt relieved. We painted the walls, created signs and posters using chalk, and brainstormed themes that the students at my school would enjoy. As we worked, we listened to music and talked about food and sports. It felt as if I were at school before the virus outbreak.
It was a fruitful experience. I learned that something as simple as meeting others in person should not be taken for granted. The joyful feeling of online school at the beginning of the pandemic tediously faded. When you are given a normal standard, anything different feels less than normal. I was able to interact with those in my age group and it was relieving. The outdoors gradually felt inviting. This was an experience I will always look back upon when times feel solitary.