How COVID-19 Impacts High School Students


Staff Illustration: Sophie Fang.

Sofia Labatt

Just a year and a half ago, our lives were completely different. There was no discussion of social distancing, mask wearing or COVID-19 tests. It’s no secret that COVID-19 has changed the lives of many, but how has the pandemic affected Menlo students specifically? 

Firstly, Menlo seniors have found that senior year and a pandemic don’t mix well. They expected senior year to be lively and engaging, not take place remotely with little social interaction. 

Senior Siena Bundy transferred to Menlo as a junior in the fall of 2019 from Australia, and she found it difficult to maintain relationships with her teachers while working remotely. Bundy feels as though COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on academics. “Now that we have all this new technology,  it’s going to be hard to miss school because classes can be recorded,” Bundy said. “There’s going to be a lot more help in the future now that we’ve experienced this.” However, she’s found it difficult to be on Zoom for such long periods of time, impacting her and her peers’ productivity and motivation.

In addition to senior year being hard during COVID-19, freshmen like Elodie Tam have also faced unprecedented challenges. Tam did not attend Menlo middle school, and she has found it difficult to meet people and form strong relationships because so little is happening on campus. These circumstances have made Tam appreciate her old friends because she knows them so well. 

Tam feels that COVID-19 will have the biggest long-term impact on high schoolers’ future jobs and choices of study at university. The pandemic has torn holes in the lives of many because of the many COVID-19-caused deaths. Therefore, Tam feels that jobs in the medical industry will increase in popularity.  “[COVID-19] has really affected a lot of people’s lives especially because some people may not have seen someone in their family that sick ever before,” Tam said. “I think people will want to make a change in the future.” 

Menlo sophomore Dylan Gold began virtual learning halfway through his freshman year, and he feels that COVID-19 has made it difficult for him to form new relationships. Nonetheless, he is very grateful for the extra time he has gotten to spend with family, including a new quarantine puppy. Aside from struggling to form friendships, he feels as though he had a better work ethic during in-person school than remote learning. “It’s definitely harder to put in the work […]. It’s been harder to demonstrate my knowledge,” Gold said. “It gets super tiring after seven hours a day and then having to do homework.” Unlike Bundy and Tam, the pandemic has taught Gold to not take things for granted. “[Interactions with classmates] have been super restricted, and I didn’t appreciate the little things I could do,” Gold said.

There was a common theme among all interviewees—it has been hard to make friendships and develop relationships during COVID-19. However, different people have different takeaways from COVID-19 beyond friendships as the academic world has improved due to technology, career path decisions have changed and people have learned to not take the little things in life for granted.