I woke up to the blaring of an alarm. I was about to roll over and go back to sleep, when it hit me. It was the first day of the new school year. I jolted out of bed and dashed around the house like a madman, hurriedly getting ready for school. I was a bit irked that the long, lazy summer days had come to an end. Nevertheless, at the bus stop, I was bubbling with excitement.
As I waited for the familiar sight of the school bus, I reminisced about all the fun I had had the previous year. Whispering to my friends, sprinting through the corridors, gazing out of the window while I was supposed to be writing notes. I thought back to the times we marveled at the Chemistry experiments done by our teachers, the hours we spent practicing for the Annual Concert and the songs we sang when we went on project trips.
I woke up with a start once more. I looked over to my screeching alarm with confusion. As I scanned my perfectly normal room, my gaze fell upon the innocuous-looking face mask on the table. Of course, it had all been a dream. We were still very much in the midst of the pandemic and going to school again seemed more and more like a distant dream with each day.
The familiar sight of the old Banyan tree was one we all took for granted, until last year, that is. Suddenly, Covid had swept us all off our feet into a whirlwind of sanitizer bottles, Zoom calls and PDF files. Soon, it became hard to even remember a time when one could use the excuse of having forgotten the homework at home. I miss the luxury of being able to complain about waking up early to catch the school bus. Sometimes I can even hear the phantom tolling of the once dreaded school bell.
Amidst all the chaos, the one constant has been the perseverance and dedication shown by our teachers, whether inside the classroom or not. They took the changes in stride and went out of their way to continue helping us. Our teachers handled everything with poise, from the sudden influx of mysterious WiFi problems and malfunctioning cameras, to the city-wide power cut in the middle of an exam. They stayed back after class to clear our doubts, and helped us to adjust to the new learning environment.
Online school was fun in its own way, I decided, as I logged in to the school Google Meet. Needless to say, this year has given us a lot to reflect on. It showed us how much our school means to us and how privileged we are to be able to attend it even in the midst of a pandemic.