While COVID-19 arguably changed every single aspect of our lives, one of the biggest upheavals that we experienced was the shift to virtual learning. Over the last year, we have gone from a fully online format, where we only met once a week for each course, to a completely virtual system that gave us a much-needed Wednesday off, to the hybrid system we have now become used to. Each has had its setbacks and low points, but no matter what, we still got the Concord Academy experience, albeit in a very different format.

In September of 2020, we began the school year fully virtual. During this time, we all had to learn to adapt. From taking classes at places other than the familiar classrooms in Concord, to teachers speaking to a black screen covered in names, a lot changed. We often spent whole classes fixing technology issues.

While technical difficulties still persist, many other things have changed. In the late fall, CA welcomed a pilot group of students to campus to test out the hybrid system. It was really hard watching some classmates having a more normal experience while most of us were still stuck behind our screens at home. However, it was nice to know that campus was returning to its usual, bustling self. In addition to having students actually attend classes at CA, in-person weekend events were also offered, providing those who were not on campus an opportunity to reconnect. These events continued throughout the winter while more students joined the in-person group for the hybrid program in late January. 

After March break, more than half the school was going to classes in-person, four days a week. I was upset that I could not join them, wishing that I could be on campus to experience the transition back to normal life. That made those of us who remained remote even more acutely aware of what we were missing out on, but it was a sign that things were slowly returning to normal. 

Looking back on a year of virtual learning in various formats, it has been quite the roller coaster. We have grown accustomed to seeing some of our friends on screen all the time, and it will be a welcome change when we return back to fully normal. We have learned a lot as well, such as how to finagle Zoom and work with anything from audio issues to a broken camera. Yet, at the end of the day, we have rediscovered that we are a community that can work through any issues to stay connected.