Zooming with Zara: A look beyond the screen


Photo by Erin Chang

Seniors Leah Boxman, Nadia Emran, Erin Chang and Abbey Damonte meet outside before school.

The time has finally come: We’re (sort of) back. I would love to attribute my staying virtual to my unwavering, unconditional and zealous loyalty to this column; however, that is not the whole truth. My inability to fill out a parking spot application has hindered me from returning; thankfully, I have some eyes and ears in the building.

As someone who hasn’t been in the school yet, hearing school bells and end-of-the-day announcements, even if virtually, never fails to hit me with a pang of nostalgia. The sound of the bells is like an echo of a past life; the process of reestablishing our normalcy after such drastic change is weird and long but creates hope and optimism for all that is to come.

With some students at home and others in person, classes feel different than before. Maybe it’s just me, but when I join and hear my teacher laughing and greeting students entering the classroom, I feel much more motivated and comfortable. Virtual learning has presented its own set of challenges for students and teachers alike, but being able to reunite and connect finally feels great after the year-long break. 

Because I haven’t been able to explore the building myself, I had to ask around. What is it like being on the other side of the screen? Apparently, pretty good. At first, I was expecting some negative reviews. But here are some of the things I have heard from peers who have gone back:

“It’s not as bad as people make it out to be. The school feels safe, and it’s fun to see friends,” senior Thomas Jezek said.

“Lunch is so nice. We get to sit outside and talk. It’s just nice being with some people again,” senior Paige Abid said.

“I enjoy going because it switches up my routine,” senior Abbey Damonte said. 

As someone who is currently stuck at home, all I can say is that I hope I can secure a parking spot and be in person soon. Because some students are in person and others at home, when someone signed up to be in school isn’t there, teachers must mark this down. 

Naturally, I am one of these problematic students. One morning a teacher of mine asked me why I didn’t come in as planned. I panicked for some unknown reason and said it was due to the rain. It was not raining that day. The moral of this little story is that if you are signed up to go back to school, and you change your mind, let your counselor know. It will save you from awkward interactions like mine and save your teacher some time.

The students in the building still join their teacher’s Zoom, which indicates the role that Zoom plays in today’s society. I will leave you all with some questions I still have after these last several months when Zoom’s prominence rose so that you too can ponder: Will we have snow days anymore? Will Zoom become a regular part of school life? Is staying virtual going to be an option forever? Stay curious, everybody, and remember to stay safe as well.