When schools were to be shut down on March 18, with my district being the last to follow the other large districts in California, I was skeptical that schools would reopen. My skepticism was validated when California Department of Education, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond recommended schools remain closed for the entire year. My friends and I always dreamed of school being shutdown, but we never expected our wishes to reach this degree. Although I’ve been thrown into distance learning, I can reflect back into the moments that defined the end of this year.

School shut down the same week we were supposed to have ASB elections. Our goal was to hold the election after Spring Break, the day we were supposed to come back. After much delay, the activities director and school decided to move elections onto a virtual format. Similar to last year, much of my campaign was already oriented for social media. And yet, In one weekend, I revamped my campaign collection-posts to feature advice on preventing the spread of COVID. I felt that if I was going to bombard my social media all week, with the rest of my friends, I might as well utilize my platform to also spread a real message. I made more videos along the way, and utilized Instagram’s music feature. On election night, after being re-elected, I took the time to not only message my opponent, but shared my ecstatic self with my friends and sister. Later, we were told that there was a larger voter turnout digitally, compared to physically, which even more made me felt that my strategies were mostly effective, and were the best move to continue.

Given the current health situation through, the last thing needed is a large gathering of students in our gymnasium. Enlightening and motivating students is something needed now, more than ever, which is why I hope to find a virtual compromise with my administration and rally commissioner parter.

After ASB elections, the junior class had one more thing to deal with, prom. Prom was canceled. There was no way we could have a dance while schools were closed, and with the health measures in place. The supplies bought for prom, like the deposit for the venue, was transferred for Formal 2021. Will we even have a Formal 2021? We’re just going to have to find out together, tbh. With no dance, we still decided to adopt what other schools did, and to have prom-royalty voting. Teachers nominate, and students vote, and somehow, a teacher decided to throw my hat onto the ballot. Having your teachers show up to your door, socially distanced, with a crown was never done before, and being nominated, let alone win. The first ever porch prom was very surreal.

The one more that held me back from declaring junior year over was the AP Exam and on the side, college testing. As school was shuttling down, I remember when the March SAT was canceled. I had to call a testing location to confirm, and as I received the confirmation, my friends and I were all a little panicked. I mean, the scope of education here in the United States falls on a standardized test, or well, used to fall, as UCs and other schools would soon go “test optional” which eased my stress, as I now have the flexibility to weigh my options at a later date…

In terms of the AP Exam, I only had one to take, AP English Language and Composition. After being revealed that the testing would go online, all of my AP friends and I wondered, how would the test even work? When we discovered the test would be a 45-minute Rhetorical Analysis, I was pumped, felt prepared, but also frightened. My teacher would tell us how that prompt was historically difficult, but an easy prompt to tackle.

I studied my butt off, taking notes, and watching the videos provided, and looked at prompts. On test day, my heart was racing, and I was already plagued with the possibility of not being able to turn my test in, as some of my friends had problems. When the clocked released me into the prompt, I got into the mood, and somehow was transported into another writer’s high. I focused back on the time when I finished, and the clock was around maybe, less than 30 minutes left. I looked over my writing, and was frightened that I did not read the entire prompt.

That was on me, and I scrambled, but I answered the prompt, without changing much of the substance, as the rhetorical choices I already analyzed fit with the prompt. My fingers were crossed for another four, and another four is what I received. Some of my friends received a five, and I was super excited for them. I give kudos to the CollegeBoard for the opportunity for college credit, in a moment that still felt equally stressful, but in less time.

Elections, Prom, and then the AP test. These were the final moments that were supposed to be staples in a world where things were still “normal”, however, there was no lunchtime to vote, no dance under flashing lights, and a pen put to paper in our library for a good four hours. As different as things were, the differences did not inhibit possibility or creativity.

Within an election, I managed to spread my hopes as an incumbent, and to spread the need to stay safe in quarantine. No dance, no problem, the trade off was health, and I took it in a heartbeat, but with royalty, I took the moment, and I took the time to remember once more, I was appreciated.

For the AP Test, I demonstrated my skills, and at home, in my pajamas? That’s still an accomplishment for the yearbooks. Which, we picked up a few weeks later, driving up to the school and receiving it safely, as I sat in the passenger’s seat of my car.

Senior year will definitely be different. There’s a new normal, and as many Americans lose their jobs, and the economy looks pretty destroyed, these stories will be retold and reflected on, as history continues to be made, as normal continues to be changed.