Freshman perspective: Manar Hadi

November 20, 2021

After a long year and a half of the mess we call a pandemic, we are finally back in school. For some of us, it is our first year of high school. Middle school to high school brought a significant change in our lives, and with the pandemic on top of that, there were so many adjustments we had to make as high school students. The freshmen, for example, had to go to a brand new school full of new people we did not know. Whether you have noticed it or not, the pandemic immensely altered our school culture.

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s how immature everyone seems to act. Most freshmen still behave like seventh graders–which isn’t surprising considering that was the last time we had any social interaction. I feel like the humor we use isn’t the most mature. You would think since we’re older now, we’d know how to be more grown-up. However, COVID has not let us grow up. I’m still seeing the same behavior I saw in the seventh grade. Trends, such as “deviously licking” the school facilities, reflect this lack of maturity. I hope this can eventually change, but as for now, it’s still interesting to see how the pandemic affected us.

School events and spirit go hand in hand, which is why I was concerned about how the pandemic would affect these school events, but surprisingly, it didn’t do much. I was expecting many people to be discouraged by the thought of getting COVID, but looking back at Hoco-Ween, it felt like a typical school dance. The only difference I could see was the distribution of food, but even that was subtle. 850 people packed in a courtyard seemed crazy to me, but everyone seemed fine in the end. While I spoke to my friends about if they were worried about COVID at Hoco-Ween, they said they weren’t that afraid and were excited to attend.

I have always struggled with time management and procrastination, but the pandemic made my struggle even worse. Now that I was home all the time, I found myself getting on my phone rather than doing my math homework or scrolling through social media instead of typing my English essay. Although I’m in school now, the urge to get off track remains. It gets to the point where I find myself doing work late at night when I know I shouldn’t have to be. I understand that since this is a high school, we are getting assigned even more work than middle school and I do feel overwhelmed at times, but it gets to the point where I’m skeptical of going to a club meeting or joining new clubs since I think I won’t be able to balance that with my work.

But this leads to another question, who’s to say that we won’t have any more adjustments in the future?

— Manar Hadi ('25)

So the question remains, how will school spirit change as time goes on. Will things stay the same? Will things go back to what they were before the pandemic? Or will new things occur to us at school? School culture, especially here at Cherry Hill East, changes very quickly and significantly. Hopefully, in the future, COVID will die down. But this leads to another question, who’s to say that we won’t have any more adjustments in the future?

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