Now Entering The Twilight Zone

The Strange Phenomenon Plaguing Students After a Year of Quarantine


Photo by Ireland Weaver

With all students back on campus this year after 17 months, there is a general vibe of students feeling like they don’t belong in their current grade. From not knowing their way around campus as a sophomore to not knowing the traditions as a senior, students are coping with trying to find their place in the school. “I just feel like this short, little baby while everyone else is like grown adults around me,” freshman Anahi Espinoza said.

Ireland Weaver, Reporter

When the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2020, citizens all across the globe could hear fireworks, music and people cheering. What people couldn’t hear was Rod Serling letting the world know they were about to enter “The Twilight Zone.” While students may be back in person at school, some students feel like this past year never happened. 

Seventh Graders Going On Freshmen 

Seventeen months, that is how long it has been since students were in school with thousands of their peers. While they may be back at school, not all is the same as it was two years ago. 

Freshman Jay Berry, for the most part,  said he feels like a freshman. Some days, however, he said he feels like he is still a seventh-grader. Berry said he felt he has already missed out on this school year due to the effects of the pandemic. This includes a postponement or cancelation of the band lock-in, homecoming and pep rallies. 

“I had older siblings who came here and they’re like ‘did y’all do the pep rally for homecoming?’ and I’m like ‘that was supposed to be a thing?’” Berry said. “I didn’t know that was a thing. It was all water-downed, and sometimes we just didn’t get to do it.” 

Freshman Anahi Espinoza’s thoughts about her first year of high school are varied, which seems to be a commonality. While she is faced with the course load and responsibilities of a freshman, being surrounded by older students makes her feel like a little fish in a big pond. 

“Sometimes, I still feel like I’m in eighth grade, but then others times it’s like ‘Oh wow, I’m in high school,’” Espinoza said. “I just feel like this short, little baby while everyone else is like grown adults around me.”

Eighth Graders Going On Sophomores

Having rarely been to campus during their first year of high school, the sophomore class has many of the same problems as a freshman student would.  According to sophomore Ash Foster, they don’t know what to do and are left feeling dazed and confused. They said they don’t know the campus well and haven’t had many of the experiences most students have by the time they are in the tenth grade.

“I feel like an eighth-grader,” Foster said.  “Just today, someone asked me ‘you’re in tenth grade, right?’ and it took me a second and I was like ‘wait, yeah I am.’ I feel like I’ve missed out on what a normal high school year is like. I’ve never experienced one yet. It’s just crazy how you don’t know that’s going to be taken away from you.”

Foster said they feel as though they’ve never experienced what being a high schooler is like due to the year of virtual learning. They didn’t have a real chance of making new friends, joining clubs, getting to know teachers. The year away has made them grateful to be back in person, Foster said, and they are taking advantage of more social interactions with their friends since they can now. 

“Before virtual, I was like ‘I don’t like school’ and ‘my friends are cool, but I don’t really want to hang out with them outside of school,’” Foster said. “ I’m talking to so many more people and trying to appreciate every single part of school, the good and the bad, as well as the work along with the fun stuff.”

They have only been on campus for a few weeks, but they said they are expected to know more about the school because they are a sophomore. Freshmen have looked to them for answers to questions they have no knowledge of, according to Foster. 

“There’s just so much pressure because I am constantly getting lost, but people are asking me questions,” Foster said. “They are asking me where stuff is because I’m a sophomore and it just makes me feel kind of dumb.”

Freshmen Going On Juniors

Junior Tyler Clifton may look like a junior, but he says that, despite being in his third year of high school, he doesn’t feel like one. He sort of thinks he’s missed out on some of the high school experience, like going to a homecoming dance or making new friends in his classes. He said he just doesn’t know as much about the school as a junior should.

“I still feel like a freshman,” Clifton said. “People will ask me something about the school and I have no idea. I don’t feel like I know as much as a junior should. There are still parts of the school that I don’t know.”  

 Clifton revealed that he doesn’t think he knows as much as a junior should when it comes to the traditions and being a Timberwolf. He doesn’t know the school song or what holiday traditions the school has. He doesn’t fully know the layout of the school. He has mixed emotions when it comes to virtual learning. 

 “On one hand, it sucked being away from school like I only saw a few people a day,” Clifton said. “On the other hand, the school year was a lot more relaxed. I could take all my classes in bed.”

Sophomores Going On Seniors 

Senior Weston Smith, who was one of the few in-person students in the 2020-2021 year, said he feels as though he were picking up right where he left off. He said that, while he is ready to leave high school behind, a part of him feels like he is still a sophomore and he feels like this whole past year hasn’t really happened. 

“Going into the pandemic as a sophomore, it feels like nothing has changed. I feel like I’m in a twilight zone experience,” Smith said. “I’m about to be an adult, but it doesn’t feel real. It feels like I’m living in like a movie. What’s after this? It feels like nothing is after this.”

Smith said how the senior class as a whole was affected by the year of virtual learning. He describes the senior class as being not as close as previous years. Smith believes the year apart made this year’s senior class more distant. COVID-19 has limited the number of senior activities so far this school year. 

“I feel like other [the] grades (senior classes) have been much closer than ours,” Smith said. “ Everyone in past senior classes [have] been much closer and went out and did more things together.” 

There is a common feeling amongst Smith’s peers. Senior Meredith Jenkins said she is ready to enter the next phase of her life, but there are moments where she still feels like a little kid confused about fractions. While she wasn’t in school last year, she said that having a job and being able to drive helped her mature more. 

“I still feel like I’m in the seventh grade, ” Jenkins said. “I am not an adult. I still got most of my life experiences. I have a job and I can drive, so that kind of helped me be like, ‘okay, I’m not a sophomore.’ However, mentally I’m still like, ‘I don’t know how to do algebra. How do I divide a semi-circle in half?’” 

A year of distance learning has left many students feeling like they blinked and jumped forward a year. The world isn’t in black and white. Rod Sterling is not the narrator. However, the past year is straight out of “The Twilight Zone” episode.

“I hope to God that this episode of “The Twilight Zone” will be over soon,” Smith said.