Students should jump back into life post-isolation, be spontaneous, safe with friends to make up for lost time


Rhea Acharya

Perhaps the most significant change since the pandemic hit has been screen time: many of the people I’ve spoken to spend almost three times as much time on their phones than before, some even in the double-digit hours. But as the school year begins again, it’s important to put Netflix, TikTok and Instagram aside and prioritize engagement in the world around us.
Yes, this might not be the senior year I envisioned. But just because we have restrictions now on how we can go about our day doesn’t mean this year is canceled. That doesn’t mean we should spend these next few months counting down the days until normal life resumes. Instead, it means we have to show more creativity and be more willing to take risks and engage with others in order for the seniors—and the school as a whole—to make this year memorable and meaningful.

JUMP INTO LIFE: Senior Rhea Acharya grabs her keys to attend a socially-distanced gathering. Acharya said people can still enjoy life while staying safe and healthy.

Some of my friends never went to the Homecoming football game, saying that there would always be senior year to experience it. But now they may not be able to attend if the school puts restrictions on large gatherings. Some of my then-senior classmates in Spanish class on March 13—the last class before e-learning last school year—scrolled through Instagram instead of participating in HeadsUp. But now after graduating, they can’t participate in another high school activity.
Don’t be like them. Learn from them, and be creative while still being safe. If you can’t decorate an all-virtual friend’s locker on her birthday, you can still drive to her house and have a socially-distanced conversation. If you can’t meet with the Debate Club at school, set up a Zoom tournament or host a meeting outdoors. If you can’t attend the Homecoming football game, play catch with your brother outside and follow the school’s Twitter to keep updated on events you can attend.

As always, follow safety precautions as long as there are COVID-19 cases in Indiana. Wear a mask, use hand sanitizer, distance from others—these are necessary steps to keep yourself safe, but not hold you back. Safety is a priority, but you can live safely and actively.
Ultimately, during this school year, whether on a Zoom call or in an in-person class or even just in the hallways, I urge you to be present, to step out of your comfort zone and to make the most of the opportunities you have been given—instead of staring at a screen, trying to will the hours to pass by. This year is still part of your life, so have a safe conversation, plan events and try your hardest to make it the best one yet.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Rhea Acharya at [email protected].

Read an opposing column by Calina He here.