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ZOOM Days to FAFSA Delays: Class of 2024 is proficient in the art of adapting

From our Editors-in-Chief: A Reflection on the Class of 2024 and advice to those we leave behind.

Just four years ago, we were sitting in our houses, on Zoom, experiencing high school for the first time. Now, most of us will vote in the next election. These past four years have been eventful, with ups and downs throughout each student’s journey at RAHS.

Our high school career started in 2020. We started our ninth-grade year fully online, with wacky schedules and our Zoom cameras off. Both of us are really social people, so, like many of our classmates, we struggled with the lack of interaction and connection with peers and teachers.

In tenth grade, we were still reeling from the effects of distance learning. School was mainly in person, with masks required. Students didn’t retain much information from online school, so we spent most of our sophomore year trying to catch up on what we missed. Chronic absences, failing classes, and many other negative effects of the pandemic became clear as we worked our way through tenth grade. At the end of our sophomore year, masks became optional and school started to feel a bit more normal.

As we entered eleventh grade, we knew we were in for a difficult year. Conventional wisdom says that junior year is the hardest academically, and it’s not wrong. It was also difficult for our class because we were still working to fill the gaps of information that we missed during distance learning.

Senior year was bittersweet for many RAHS seniors. In the fall, many seniors found themselves stressed about submitting applications and making plans for the next few years. In the winter, many college-bound students worried about the FAFSA, which experienced many delays due to the fact that they were testing a new system.

Although senior year was a stressful time for many, it was also fun and exciting. During homecoming week, seniors were celebrated through special spirit days like Toga Tuesday and Raider Day (where senior girls decorate jerseys and run through the hallways handing out candy). At the end of the year, we had the opportunity to visit our elementary schools and walk through wearing our caps and gowns.

As a result of Covid-19, we had a lot of unique experiences throughout our high school careers. We would like to offer a few pieces of advice to current and future RAHS students so that they can get the most out of their high school experience.

First, we want to recommend a few of our favorite courses at RAHS. After four years here and 60 classes taken, we have some recommendations for students thinking about registration. Here is a short list of classes that we recommend taking:

  1. AP Language and Literature– but any AP English class helps a lot with your writing.
  2. AP US Government and Politics– a great way to gain a deeper understanding of how our country works.
  3. History through the African American Lens– a good way to learn about history that isn’t through the traditional Euro-centric lens.
  4. Statistics– a great basis in math, needed in many college courses and majors.
  5. Anatomy and Physiology– great for people going into the medical field but still super fun if you’re not.
  6. Journalism– how we both started writing for The Ville!

Second, we want to offer some academic advice. For younger students, high school can seem intimidating, but everyone around you is just as scared as you are. Focus on your GPA in your freshman year, since classes get harder, and a solid foundation will keep your GPA higher in future years.

Third, we want to encourage everyone to get involved in activities. There are more academic-focused ones, like DECA, newspaper, and student council, as well as many cultural groups and, of course, sports. Both of us did a variety of activities throughout high school, including Track and Field, Newspaper, Calendar Committee, Student Council, Black Student Union, Debate, Powerlifting, and National Honors Society. Although not all of those activities turned out to be the right fit for us, we are glad to have experienced all of them. Through our activities, we made some of our closest friends and gained very valuable experiences, and we urge all RAHS students to get involved with activities so they can have similar experiences.

Lastly, some advice for people who applying to college. FAFSA delays, confusing application processes, dozens of essays, and limited time can all make the college application process seem extremely daunting. However, as two students who have gotten into reputable schools, the college process is as difficult as you make it. Approach applications with a calm, clear mind. Start as early as you can and take your time. Make sure to draft essays and explore multiple options for your common app essay. Be organized, and make sure you know when deadlines are. And most importantly, understand that the colleges you do or don’t get into don’t define you as a person. You will have an amazing experience wherever you end up, and if you don’t, you can always transfer.

High school won’t always be fun, and it won’t always be easy, but make sure to keep an open mind and make the most of your experience. You’ll only be in high school once!

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About the Contributors
Evelyn Sagor
Evelyn Sagor, Editor-in-Chief
I am a co-editor-in-chief and have been writing for The Ville for three years. I like writing about social issues and sports. I do track and field and powerlifting, and I am secretary to Student Council. I also work at a local coffee shop!
Naima Sheikh-Mohamed
Naima Sheikh-Mohamed, Editor-in-Chief
I’m a co editor in chief and this is my third year on The Ville. I’m a senior, and some things I like to do are cook, take walks, and watch TV. A fun fact about me is that my birthday is on Halloween.

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