The Concord Academy email, announcing our four-week distance learning plan, was a shock to the entire CA community. How is this real? No more dancing at break, celebrating chapels, running to Cumbies in 6 minutes.

Then, the inundation of questions about being a boarder comes in: How will I get my stuff? Does an adult have to go through my room? Personally, I packed for home minimally. Of course, despite the presence of some cases in the US, nobody fathomed this reality before spring break. 

Days before the online classes began, the initial shock had faded and resignation had settled in. With every single news cycle throwing in worse updates about the global pandemic, the gleaming hope of going back to school simmered, barely leaving a trace. 

When online schooling began, it partly served as a reminder of what we as a community are missing. Being muted and listening to the awkward silence when the teacher asks a question, not being able to jump on the chapel-giver’s back for a hug right before the fifteen minutes begin, not cheering for the cringey announcements, and not having belly-aching laughs during class can in no way be replicated through any number of Zoom calls. 

It is easiest to think about all that we desire and what we lack right now, especially while practicing social distancing. The physical toll translates to a mental one very quickly, and the absence of a concrete push or motive makes it more so difficult to be productive. But still, the dramatic shift of hopes for the future looms. What will this mean for juniors, in the peak of their academic grit? What will it mean for seniors who want to see their friends, who will miss their senior spring and graduation? 

But this experience can also serve as a reminder of the importance of gratitude. Come back or leave Concord Academy with high energy, excitement for the future. Engage as deeply as possible in those weekly advisor meetings, CVS runs, and dry dances alike. Not many people can say they miss anything about school beyond seeing their close circle of friends.