The Impact of COVID-19: Sophomore Year

Jeffrey Scott Valentine, Guest Columnist

In early September, the students of Morristown-Beard returned to campus for the latest academic year with new COVID precautions and regulations. Though MBS faced some closures and a brief period of virtual learning in the fall, the dedication of the School to provide an uninterrupted curriculum in spite of the pandemic has been admirable. Because of this commitment to our education, I feel my sophomore year has been able to progress with very few compromises, academic or otherwise. While it has at times been difficult to maintain a strong work ethic while working virtually–my bedroom is hardly conducive to a good learning environment–weeks of distance-learning have typically been few and far between. Now, thanks to the hard work of my teachers, I am looking forward to a second semester that will be even better than the first.


I am looking forward to next year being one of great academic specialization–one hopefully not in the throes of a pandemic.

For me, the weeks spent virtually have easily been the hardest part of the year. It’s incredibly difficult for me to motivate myself to do homework the night before, especially with so much time already built into the distance learning schedule. The hour-or-so before each two-period block is an incredibly tempting window for me to get work done, which makes it hard not to carry over this issue of procrastination when we are back in-person. After all, this really isn’t something I can afford to let happen in light of how work-intensive sophomore year has already been. This year has kept me incredibly busy – I can’t overstate how big of a step-up it is over freshman year. Though an increase in work and even difficulty in general should be expected, the level of comprehension needed for most units in class caught even me off-guard early in the year. Despite this, I haven’t noticed a huge difference in my academic performance compared to years past. I attribute this to the meetings for extra help I set up with my teachers outside of class–the biggest benefit of COVID, if ever there were one. I don’t know if teachers are more available because of the adjusted schedule, or if I’m just noticing because I can’t really study in the library anymore. I think, or at least, I hope, that I’m helping myself learn how to properly parcel out my time–a skill I will no doubt need for next year. 

I am looking forward to next year being one of great academic specialization–one hopefully not in the throes of a pandemic. While I do enjoy the full curriculum MBS has to offer, I am very excited to be able to pursue further education in English, among a couple of other courses through the Advanced Seminar and Advanced Placement programs. These AS and AP classes offer a unique range of topics in their curriculum, especially the ones which bridge multiple disciplines. Knowing this, I cannot wait to begin exploring how a blend of the Humanities curriculum influences class discussions and my education as a whole. While COVID has done all that it can to interrupt the school year, MBS has done the best it possibly can to keep its students on the right path.