The New Norm: Life of a High Schooler


Yassira Arciga, Reporter

Walking into the building in September, senior Meah Zolezzi had one goal in mind: normal.

Zolezzi, who missed a chunk of her year between an injury and the pandemic, is ready to have a new start this year with a clean slate.

“[Being back at school every day] feels great and makes life easier,” she said.

It hasn’t been easy for students since last March.

On March 17, NJ Governor Phil Murphy ordered all schools to work from home because of the growing of COVID-19 pandemic. Hammonton schools offered students and parents an alternating cohort schedule for the 2020-2021 school year, and some students chose to work remotely all year. It wasn’t until spring 2021 that students could attend a daily half day school.

All of this change has made for some challenging adjustments for students this year. In fact, one could say it almost feels like freshman year for everyone.

The pandemic affected so many aspects of student life, from social

some, including freshman Giovanni Pizzico.

‘Because of the pandemic and the chromebooks, I started to forget to do homework (which I used to always remember to do),” he said. “Also, I have had trouble finding after school activities (although, this may be due to going from middle school to high school rather than the pandemic).

As the school year came to an end and the rates of COVID were decreasing.

The start of 2021-2022 Hammonton High began to slowly reach their way back into normalcy. With the start of demolishing all cohorts and began normal class sessions with students. But continuing to wear masks as a safety precaution from COVID-19.

But with these new adjustments, it was the closest thing to normal. Senior Meah Zolezzi explains,

“It felt great and made life easier, she struggled with learning and going back to school made things for the better”

But on the academic side of things many students beyond the student body find themselves stuck on the drastic change from last year.Students having a difficult time paying attention or getting back into the habit of doing work or even starting it at all.

“My grades were a lot lower than usual and during the pandemic I developed a habit of not keeping up with my schoolwork” stated Pizzico.

Procrastination still wonders. But in time, hopefully it will go back to its old routes or maybe better.

But the change didn’t leave the student body off-course, with the return of students from all cohorts. You’ll experience the traffic of the hallways, the conversations in the halls. The slamming of lockers. The gossip among students. The fights between freshmen, The true feeling of normal.

“First day of school [being able] to see all my friends for the first time after so long.” Meah said.

As this school year enforced its rules for the safety of others during the COVID-19 pandemic, it still remained equally even.

Pizzico, however, is optimistic that things will improve.