After the announcement of school closing due to the COVID-19 outbreak, junior Sarah Mohammed, the class of 2021’s current valedictorian, was relieved at first. March can be one of the busiest months for a high school junior due to the pressure to study for college entrance exams, prepare for AP exams and maintain high grades.
“Since I take six extremely rigorous AP classes, I have constant homework and it seems like I can never get a break,” Mohammed said. “I go to school for half the day, come home and start my homework, study, eat dinner, shower and sleep. I have no time to do anything else for me that doesn’t involve school.”
Mohammed can now spend more of her time biking and playing tennis, basketball and volleyball with her family, activities she usually does not have time to enjoy. She also spends her spare time baking and reading. The day before the North Regional library temporarily closed, she checked out eleven books to keep her busy while in quarantine.
The closure of school has had a number of benefits for Mohammed. She has been managing her time better and now has extra time to sleep in, exercise or spend quality time with family. On the other hand, she misses going to MSD and realizes that the closure of school has its disadvantages as well.
“I started to miss school because I couldn’t see my friends or my teachers. I also realized I would be missing a lot of crucial learning opportunities whether it be for my individual classes or college preparation,” Mohammed said. “I feel extremely pressured because I have to keep up with all the school work and at the same time prepare for college as well. It is more difficult to work at home because it is really on you to time manage.”
On a regular day of online school, Mohammed sets a schedule for herself in order to get all her assignments done on time. She utilizes checklists that motivate her to check tasks off. Besides school assignments, she goes the extra step by practicing for the SAT, despite not knowing when the next SAT test date will occur.
“I practice for the SAT with my books, but since I am not sure of the next test date, it is hard for me to make a plan to make sure I am using my time effectively,” Mohammed said.
Mohammed is confused about how she feels about the state of her class ranking because of these unusual circumstances. She takes the same classes, just online; however, she feels that because she can manage her time better during this quarantine, she may be able to concentrate and get better grades compared to before schools closed.
“I guess since I can manage my time better now, I will hopefully be able to study more and maintain my grades,” Mohammed said.
While many students are struggling with managing their time in online school because of distractions at home, Mohammed is taking advantage of the extra time to understand her course material and get more rest. She is determined to continue putting in the effort to maintain her class ranking and prepare for college.