New Girl During a Pandemic


Wyllow Larsen, Reporter

Going to a new school is always hard, but going to a new school amidst a pandemic is a whole different ball game. It’s hard making connections when you’re seeing hundreds of new faces, but they’re all covered with masks. Conversations are hard to have when they have to be had from six feet away. 

In my experience, moving is never easy. I’ve lived in Oregon, California, Missouri, Tennessee, and now Arkansas. My eighth grade year I went to four different schools. And if you’re wondering; no, it doesn’t get easier. 

I came to MHHS with the mindset that not much would be different, and boy was I wrong. Imagine the stereotypical “new kid” problems; like where will I sit? Who will I talk to? How will I make any friends? Now, try navigating this amidst COVID restrictions.

I moved from a small town and a small school with just 300 kids, and came here where there is more than 1,000. I was seeing new faces everywhere I looked but I could only see eyes. It was a surreal, almost robotic kind of experience. 

If anything, It made me more observant.  I had to form judgements on people largely based on what they were wearing and how they carried themselves. This only made me wonder, what judgements are they making about me?

With desks being six feet apart and not a lot of group work being done, talking to the people in my classes was difficult. Previously, when I was new to a school, I made my friends by getting paired with them for a project, or sitting directly behind them in class and making small talk. I think we often forget how significant the little things in life can be. Things like asking for a pencil, comparing schedules, and casual small talk, can be the beginning of new friendships. 

It used to take me a few weeks to make solid friends and become part of a group. In comparison, we’re four months into the school year and I have yet to make solid relationships.

Psychologically, we need relationships and connections to thrive. During these times especially, it’s important to have someone to talk and relate to. Not being able to talk to classmates has had a bigger impact on me than I anticipated. 

In the beginning, I felt very isolated and like I was being swept under the rug. I talked to some students who were new this year as well and they felt similarly. Then I looked around me and realized that everyone, even people who’ve lived here their whole lives are going through similar problems. 

It helped ease my worry that I was the only one who was feeling this way and made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I think this experience has shown me that everyone has struggles and even if COVID hasn’t affected you physically, it can take a toll on your mental state.