Back to School: We’re All In Everyday

For the first time in over a year, Lake Forest High School is a full house


Sarah Patel

Less than a year ago, students were isolated in their houses as they attempted to navigate the frustrating e-learning experience of glitchy Google Meets, awkward breakout rooms, and eye strain. 

As students this year return to an in-person schedule five days a week, they are forced to adjust to a reality that used to be familiar, before the pandemic restrictions and mask mandate. 

Though students have appeared to adapt with ease in a matter of two weeks, the rebound comes as nothing short of a trial-and-error experiment for both under and upperclassmen. 

“The first day of school was very stressful because, last year, I didn’t get to meet people,” said sophomore Caroline Kaiser. “I didn’t know anyone in any of my classes or even lunch.” 

However, as the days went on, Kaiser found herself in a more comfortable place socially. 

“Now, I’ve figured out my friends in different periods, and it’s much less overwhelming than it was the first few days,” she said. 

Additionally, the freshman struggled to find classes again, and the non-sequential layout of room numbers added fuel to the fire. 

“During book pick up a few days before school started I tried to walk my schedule and find my classes, but I was still lost on the first day,” said freshman Ella Rubenstein. 

Luckily, the confusion did not go unnoticed by helpful seniors like Tricia Gray who have an ingrained cognitive map of the school at this point in their high school career. 

“I would often see them looking lost in the hallways, and I remembered how anxious I was as a freshman about finding the right class,” Gray said. “I made sure to go out of my way to help them.” 

Nevertheless, Gray explained that the sudden leadership role thrown onto the senior class after lockdown– where the concept of time blurred – seems awkward. 

“It’s definitely super weird to be a senior,” she said. “I’ve always been used to having the upperclassman and older kids to look up to, but now we are those older kids.” 

With extracurricular activities almost back in full swing, students are involved in the precious sports, clubs, and jobs they love once again. 

Only a freshman, Lizzy Bailey routinely wakes up at 5:30 a.m. five days a week to work at a barn in Messenger Hills. 

“My parents said if I wanted to have my own horse, I needed to have a job, so here I am,” said Bailey. 

However, during virtual learning, students’ abilities to manage their time declined due to constant distractions, lack of a designated workspace, and limited teacher supervision, among other challenges. Though desired, the sudden switch to extracurriculars, on top of an in-person schedule, is somewhat overwhelming.  

“Something that has been challenging for me is time management,” said junior Josephine van Esbroeck, a member of the JV Cross Country team. “I have to wake up early, and by the time I get home after sports, I still have to do my homework.” 

Kaiser also describes the academic shift to an in-person workload as somewhat harsh.  

“It felt like last year’s classes went much slower throughout the year, so when teachers started assigning due dates and review quizzes in the first few days, it was stressful.” 

The return to school hasn’t been the smoothest transition, but the students and staff are resilient. The “All In Everyday” posters and signs that line the hallways serve as comforting reminders of this. 

“In a more literal sense, ‘All In Everyday’ means we’re officially in school every day, but even more, it means that we’re a family,” said Bailey. “We’re in this together, and we’re persevering through these crazy times.”