The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of students dramatically. From in-class sessions to distant learning, most affected in all of this is the graduating class of 2020. To honor each class and the hard work they have put in, CBS 4 is honoring valedictorians from each campus across the Rio Grande Valley on CBS 4 Valley This Morning.
SHARYLAND, Texas (KVEO) — For many seniors, moving to online learning doesn’t come with a rule book, but Sharyland valedictorian Robert Freeman says he’s gotten better at scheduling his days.
Otherwise, he says life in lockdown can feel like a time warp, as the days seem to start blending together.
Like many students, he’s enjoying extra time with family. He’s learning not to take anything for granted as he’s preparing for his valedictorian speech to be online.
“It doesn’t feel real,’ said Freeman. “It hasn’t set in that we’re all stuck in this quarantine throughout this pandemic and graduations are being postponed or virtualized. It’s very interesting.”
Freeman’s created an hour by hour schedule, otherwise he says it’s easy to miss deadlines.
He’s aware this time has been a struggle for some students, as studying at home is dependent on WiFi connections, and keeping a schedule without the structure of going to high school.
He wants to remind students, this time comes with a unique responsibility. The class of 2020 has the chance to create a legacy that will be remembered in these historic times.
“Although we’re missing out on things like prom and in-person graduation, in the long run, people are going to remember us for what we had to go through what we had to persevere through.”
For students who may be falling behind in schoolwork, “I just recommend that you graduate, because some people, if you don’t follow online courses, or you think that it’s not that big of a deal, you might not graduate, and you’ll be held back a year and that’s not what we want at all. “
Coming up – the big lesson he’s learned that’s changed the way he sees life.
While he says he has experienced the stress and isolation that comes with this pandemic, he’s found things to be grateful for, like more family time, learning better time management, and the importance of not taking anything for granted. He believes there are life lessons we can all take from this lockdown.
“Being in a pandemic reminds you how quickly life can change. Just don’t get too comfortable with how life is going right now because in the blink of an eye the entire world can be shutting down. Maybe not being so caught in our personal worries that aren’t that big of a deal in a couple weeks or days, and putting more emphasis on what matters in the long term, like relationships.”
As the world shifts to essential and non-essential workers, he’s become more aware of the precautions workplaces are taking to keep employees safe, something he’ll be more mindful of when he seeks his future job.
Freeman will be attending MIT in the fall, majoring in computer science and engineering. He hopes to work in computer hardware engineering and eventually develop new technology.