The Gray Area: Sluggishness, Summer, & Safety

SLUGGISHNESS, SUMMER, AND SAFETY -- Grayson prepares for summer in one hand and struggles with school in another.

Blake Catlett

SLUGGISHNESS, SUMMER, AND SAFETY — Grayson prepares for summer in one hand and struggles with school in another.

Grayson Catlett, Columnist

Like other students, I have spent much of this last week blankly staring at the screen. This is my final piece, but, for some reason, my mind is filled with static as I type. This time of year is a lot more difficult than I had anticipated.

There is a lot on everyone’s plate. Seniors are two weeks out from completing all of their classes, and other students are not too far behind. We are finally about to reach the finish line, but a lot of students are instead curious about what comes before and after the finish line. The pollen definitely does not help, either.

Many students, as I have mentioned before, are fatigued from digital learning environments. Even as the last weeks ensue, some students may be losing their drive for these final assignments.

“It’s been hard for students and it mainly shows through attendance and work,” said senior Kenyon McCrobey. “Some students can go to class and get the work done… others, not so much. They feel as though their life is just a continuous cycle of waking up, moving to a desk for class, and then going back to bed once school is over. Some don’t even leave the bed… Having to look at a screen all day is tiring, and then putting the already loaded classes on top of that makes the situation even worse.”

Some teachers have even suffered from the same burnout as students, as math teacher Peggy Moyer described.

“I was having trouble waking up during the night probably due to stress of teaching in class and over Zoom,” she said. “I think I am also stressed because some of my hobbies are on hold… I am not able to do some things I really enjoy… it is just stressful not seeing close family and friends.  It does wear you out.”

Exhaustion is a prevalent issue, but hopefully it can be reduced when students can see the end of the year quickly arriving.

“It’s kind of hard to deal with, but you just have to try to stay on track,” senior Elianna Evatt stated.

After all that– along with the caps and gowns, the report cards, and everything else– this summer may come as a bit more confusing to approach. Both good and bad news surround the pandemic that largely shut down last year’s summer. Will vaccinations give us herd immunity and allow reopenings, or will vaccine hesitancy and different variants cause a delay in the return to average life? What are people planning to do during this (almost) normal summer?

Personally, I think this summer will be a step forward,” McCrobey claimed. “Most [have] somewhat gotten used to living with the pandemic and have adjusted accordingly. We just need to keep getting people vaccinated and wearing our masks.”

“I hope people are getting vaccinated… it makes me nervous that the cases could blow up again if people are not responsible,” Moyer explained.

So far, some seniors (including myself!) are planning for senior trips that will allow them to celebrate while also staying conscious of the ongoing pandemic.

I’m going to be working, but I also have a trip to London planned as a graduation present to myself,” McCrobey added. “Though I do plan on leaving, I’m definitely staying cautious of the virus and all of the different [variants] that have come about.”

“After getting vaccinated, I will probably travel more… while still keeping the same precautions,” Evatt mentioned.

These last weeks are always hectic with end-of-school events and upcoming plans, and COVID-19 definitely does not help the equation. Fortunately, everything seems to be hopefully working out for students and staff as we reach yet another summer. I am not a fan of truisms, but one of them keeps echoing in my mind as I write this: this year has gone by so quickly.

It was a unique, and even historic, senior year for me and my class, and I am glad that we can finish it here on the Central football field in May.