The Pennsylvania Department of Education recently connected with Harrisburg High School - SciTech Campus senior Ish-ma-el Finley, who provided insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic shaped his senior year and his future plans. Read his perspective:
My educational experience the past year has been mostly positive despite the unfortunate circumstances of the pandemic. Academically speaking, I had the best school year of my life, as the lowest grade that I had was a 99. I was able to do this because of the new circumstances that came with online learning. I thrive as a student who can do their work on their own time while given a deadline. I was able to do the majority of my work ahead of the time that it was due, which really helped me expand my work ethic that I will certainly need as I continue my education. Also during this unusual year, I had to figure out where I wanted to attend college, which was a smoother process than I thought it was going to be. First, I had to decide what I wanted to go to school for, as this decision had changed multiple times over the course of the pandemic. I settled on wanting to go into the business field, and specifically finance based on a couple of reasons. I knew this field would help enhance my already good money management skills into great ones. I would also be able to help other people I know with their money, and I could learn about how some of the most successful businesses manage their own finances. I was able to narrow down my college list based on a few personal factors such as location, cost, education, etc. This led to me choosing Penn State as the school that I wanted to go to, and I was accepted and later given a full ride to attend the school.
The only negative thing that resulted from the pandemic personally was the separation from my classmates. In the beginning, I did not mind virtual learning because I would be able to learn from the comfort of my home. I thought at some point I would rejoin some of my classmates in school but that unfortunately did not happen.
This entire year, with all of these adjustments, has definitely made me a better student and a better person. This school year taught me how to adjust and how to thrive in uncomfortable situations. This is a year that I will never forget.