Everett "CJ" Mason, Jr.
While the end of August for most juniors across America marks the beginning of the end of their high school careers, the completion of the month denotes the commencement of a new journey for MSMS juniors. Juniors, entering a new school this year, are set with the task of balancing the many academic and social challenges that come with attending the no. 1 public high school in Mississippi.
This year, however, the juniors of MSMS are not the only ones who have to perform this task; the seniors are also experiencing a somewhat normal MSMS life for the first time. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the seniors’ junior year was limited to online Zoom calls and less-than-ideal schedules of alternating on and off campus with the Class of 2021. Both the juniors and seniors are now back on campus together, experiencing the unique residential and rigorous academic life of MSMS closest to what it was before the pandemic while coping with the adjustment that comes with it.
Junior Mariah Bailey said she can attest to the struggles that come with the first few weeks of school at MSMS.
“I feel like I got really spoiled with how things were at my old school — the ease,” Bailey said. “It was definitely really rough around the third week of school here because we started to have classes for real. But I’m honestly not doing as bad as I thought I would.”
Even though school has only been in session for a few weeks, things are already looking up for many students. Junior Sophia Williams said the change in the atmosphere from the beginning of school has improved her disposition.
“I’m doing pretty well now, I’d say,” Williams said. “At first, it was rough. There was a lot of hustle and bustle in the community, and everyone was on edge. It’s better now because everyone is slowly getting acclimated to the school, we’re making friends, getting used to the workload, et cetera.”
“It still feels weird being [at MSMS],” Bailey added, “but the atmosphere is inviting and nice enough that I’m not freaking out every day. Everyone is also really open about how they are coping too, so I know that I’m not the only one feeling stuck sometimes. It’s fine, other people are feeling it, too, and you just keep going.”
Despite the lack of exposure to a traditional junior year, the seniors have endured a season in MSMS history that has never been seen before. Through the unpredictability of their junior year, they learned valuable lessons that encouraged them to cherish the remainder of their time at MSMS even more.
Senior Maddie Flowers said from the past month of school, she has gotten closer with friends and realized how much MSMS means to her
“When I am feeling overwhelmed, I’ve learned that I should sit back and relish in the moment because it’s already my senior year, and it’s going by so fast,” Flowers said. “The fact that I didn’t get to fully enjoy my junior year puts pressure on my senior year. I’ve definitely connected with more of my classmates now that we’re on campus because we didn’t really have the chance to when we were virtual and going back and forth. I’m going to be so upset [when graduation comes] because I’ve gotten so close with [my classmates].”