Roar: The Podcast | Episode 1: Senior year during COVID-19


Roar: The Podcast | Episode 1

Welcome back to Roar: The Podcast! In this episode, seniors Melina Kritikopoulos, Stefan Pantic and Zianna Razon speak on the ups and downs of starting senior year during COVID-19.

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  • Melina Kritikopoulos, senior
  • Stefan Pantic, senior
  • Zianna Razon, senior

Edited by Melina Kritikopoulos


Intro: Hello everyone and welcome to Roar: The Podcast, a student-run podcast hosted by members of Santa Clara High School’s very own The Roar staff. 

Melina: Hi, I’m Melina and I’m a senior, and I am in The Roar.

Zianna: Hi, my name is Zianna Razon and I’m also a senior in The Roar.

Stefan: I’m Stefan Pantic. And like them, I’m also a senior in The Roar. 

Melina: Cool. So we’re gonna be talking today about how COVID has ruined or changed our senior years. Santa Clara High School, which is where we attend, is going full distance learning for the first semester. So we have been on online classes since August, which is really fun. Okay, so do either of you  guys want to start or you want me to begin with my experience? 

Zianna: You can go Melina.

Stefan: Yeah, you can go. 

Zianna: Mrs. experienced podcaster!

Melina: I’ve been in like two but thank you. Okay. For me, which I don’t think is indicative or representative of the entire senior class, but I am okay about it. Journalism is kind of my life if you don’t already know. I was really excited because I’ve been in it for four years, so I was really excited to grow up with that community and then progress from writer to online editor, to whatever. And then now I’m co EIC, or editor-in-chief, if you don’t know the lingo, co editor in chief. It’s kind of like being a president or being a person in ASB, and then going up to President, which Zianna will talk about. You want to have that experience, where you’re at the front of the class, and you’re the person people come to, which you can still have in a sense, but it’s just not the same [as] being in-person. You kind of have those fantasies about being up at the lectern or something and that’s not happening, so it’s a little bit sad in terms of that, but I feel like there are also some advantages. I’m not a big fan of high school stuff, so I’m not super upset. Zianna, I’m sorry. I’m not super upset about BOTC, or I mean, we don’t know if that’s cancelled yet but homecoming or things like that, because I’ve never super been into that kind of stuff. I’m a little bit upset because, yeah, it’s a big part of high school and your last year for doing it, but it’s not devastating to me. A few positives I’ve noticed is that I have way more time to do stuff. College apps are a lot easier because we’re not stressed with as [many] things. We have more time to work on that. And personally, I feel like the workload has been a lot less, but I don’t know if that’s true because I don’t have anything to compare it to because I’ve never been a senior before, and I don’t know, I feel like it’s been less, but it could just be because we’re not doing anything. So that’s my general gist of how I’ve been feeling about stuff. 

Zianna: I’m gonna have to disagree with you, Melina, on the schoolwork. I mean, most of the time, seniors take way less classes than before because it’s common sophomore and junior year you take seven classes so that your senior year you have enough credits to only take five classes. And comparing that to what we have now to the past years, we definitely have less schoolwork. But the thing is, I think it’s a lot harder for everybody with online learning to, first of all, stay focused on your schoolwork, pay attention during class, because we don’t have that set environment anymore. We’re at school and we have a direct mindset: I’m here to learn; I’m here to do work. It’s very different now. We’re all in our rooms; we’re in our most comfortable places where we would usually be just chilling and just doing things that are fun. It’s really hard to concentrate and focus. I think that’s what makes the workload seem longer and harder even though I’ve five classes and two of them are Journalism and Leadership, and the other ones are Multicultural Literature, AP Stats, and AP Macro Econ. Those are all passion classes for me, but even though I genuinely enjoy the subject, I think it’s really hard to just stay concentrated all the time.

Melina: Stefan, do you have an opinion on that particular topic?

Stefan: Honestly, yeah, I have to agree with both of you and in some ways. I mean, yeah. I’m one of those people also like Zianna [who] can’t really concentrate, do

work when I’m in my room doing stuff. But when I go to school, I can actually… I’m pretty concentrated on I’m going to write this essay; I’m going to complete this assignment. But when I’m at home—I’m not—I do homework, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just harder for me to focus and concentrate on that. But also, what you said Melina. I think there’s also some benefits of this whole shelter-in-place. I’m not really bothered by the school events not happening because I never really participate in any of those. I’m so sorry. 

Melina: Zianna’s seething.

Zianna: Is this an apology to me or like—

Melina: All of ASB. We got like the two least enthusiastic people on this podcast.

Zianna: It’s okay. It’s okay. 

Stefan: I’m sorry.

Zianna: No, don’t apologize. It’s fine. 

Stefan: But yeah. So I’m not bothered by that, but I do generally like that we get to wake… school starts at 8:30 now, and I don’t have to wake up at 6:30 every single morning anymore.

Melina: I second that, for sure.

Zianna: Agreed.

Stefan: If we can somehow keep this time schedule while also being at school, I think that’d just be the perfect thing I’d like. 

Melina: Although, I will say, 80 minutes is too long. I can’t.

Zianna: For block period? Oh, I’m actually kind of warmed up to the schedule. And from what I’ve heard, if we do return in some kind of hybrid or in-person learning, they’re not going to change the schedule. We’re still only going to be at school at 8:30 the earliest, and that is beautiful. Especially for our senioritis. 

Melina: Yes, I cannot. I was gonna do one through six regardless no matter how many classes I took because I’m an early morning person anyway. But then when they were like it’s 8:30, I’m like, “Oh, I’m never waking up that early again. There’s no reason to.”

Stefan: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, one thing I also want to say. I think ‘cause you know how last year it was only the last quarter of a school that was like a [indiscernible]. I think they picked a much better schedule than it was before because as much as I liked not having to go to school on Friday, it wasn’t really the most productive. 

Melina: Yeah. Plus, I think they had to meet a certain number of hours that you have to be in school. So I think that was why, but yeah. I agree. 

Stefan: Yeah. 

Melina: Z, do you want to, do you want to talk about events? You have the floor.

Zianna: Oh, for sure. Well, back to what you said Melina for Journalism and climbing up the ladder since freshman year—even when we were in Journalism together freshman year—I could definitely see you as editor-in-chief. 

Melina: Thank you.

Zianna: And just watching you over the years just grow as a writer too.  I’ve just been reading the newspaper and seeing you as editor-in-chief. That’s so amazing. And I really wish that you and Olive got to enjoy this really high position that you worked really hard for. You guys deserve that in person experience. And I can relate absolutely. Running for ASB vice president, it was really thrilling, and it was kind of one of the highest points for me in high school. When I came in as a freshman, I always felt really left out of everything. I felt like an outsider, and I really made an effort to attend a bunch of school events, like really get really integrated into the community, and I found a lot of love and passion for it. And I never imagined myself to be ASB Vice President. As time went on, I just found more passion and opportunities kept opening up to themselves, and it was really exciting to just think what it’d be like to be standing behind that podium every day in class and being a leader and helping people out and of course, I still get a similar experience online. It’s very fulfilling to be able to teach the leadership class alongside the ASB President, Pradeep Kundu. But, you know, it’s never the same in-person to online. It’s one of the best things about leadership class is that it’s the vibe in the classroom. And the same thing with Journalism too. It’s that collaboration and bonding that you always get every year. And I felt that was Journalism freshman year and I feel that in sophomore and junior year with Leadership, and I was really hoping for the best of both worlds senior year to have just two wonderful communities that I’ve always been attached to every day. That would be the dream along with five periods. And in terms of school events, I cannot put it into words, how much I love school events and how excited I was for senior year. Even being part of council, I was always worried about class participation with our class, especially… I always hoped that… like, Oh, senior year,  more people will come to our flower party. Senior year, more people will want to do float and want to be involved in our skit. And senior year and more people will want to do BOTC because it’s our last time around, and that’s when usually we all get our licenses and our schedules start opening up so we can actually start making time for fun things like school events, and I think that would have been a very new and enhanced experience of every other school event that we’ve had in the past. And it’s very sad because I feel like such a loser because I invested so much into senior year. I had the highest hopes. It’s what got me through junior and sophomore year, and as juniors, we were really excited for homecoming. Even in our flower parties last year, we were already brainstorming this is gonna be our theme for senior year, and we’re gonna do this with our float and it’s gonna be beautiful. And is homecoming even happening? I don’t know. I don’t know ‘cause we can have online rallies that works well, but you can’t have a homecoming game online or… imagine homecoming court online.

Melina: They just play Among Us. All the football players play Among Us, and we just watch a livestream.

Zianna: Oh my God, yeah.

Melina: They just stream on Twitch and that’s homecoming. Please.

Zianna: Honestly, yes.

Melina: That’s a football game everyone would go to. Zianna you have power. Pitch it to Mrs. Brown. 

Zianna: Yeah, well, okay, that brings me to another thing though. The silver lining about having everything just be moved to online and just cut off all in-person tradition is literally out of the window. And this is something that we’ve talked about with Mrs. Brown. This is the time for new ideas to really reach out to the different communities of our school and take a step back and be like, “Okay, the purpose of this one event was this; how can we integrate it into an online event?” It was a really exciting experience to try to do that. I did that with clubs. I made a whole new club system for clubs to function online, and it was my idea to get a virtual YouTube video of a rally instead. I think it’s really great how supportive our school is of just trying to salvage what we can and just making the most out of this because hard times push people to be better. That’s what I think of it.

Melina: Yes, I like that. Snaps for that.

Stefan: Yeah, yeah. Honestly, I kind of missed the whole skits that they make when the homecoming is up, though. All the different class—. Yeah. Also remember last year, they probably the year before when someone did like the coke kiosks opening with students? You know that one? Remember that one?

Melina: I think so. Also another.

Stefan: I think it was a skit.

Melina: Oh, go ahead.

Stefan: No, no, go ahead. I was done with my thought.

Melina: Another thing I noticed about rallies, my friends and I were talking about this and I got so sad. We will never get to sit on the senior side. We were thinking about this, like, “Oh my God,” ‘cause you start when you’re in the freshman bleacher, and then you do the full circle and we never will ever get to sit there maybe, maybe. Wear a mask, maybe. But I thought of that. I know Zianna you’re dying. I’m sorry. I just thought about that. And now I’m upset. Now I’m a little bit upset.

Zianna:  It’s the little things. 

Melina: It is the little things.

Stefan: Well, we don’t know maybe.

Melina: Maybe

Stefan: Maybe they’ll make a vaccine by then?

Zianna: Wear a mask.

Stefan: I mean, they take like a year to make. So maybe by January or something hopefully. Probably not. 

Melina: I’m not going to say never, but that was a thought that went through my head. I have another question for Stefan. Zianna and I both have a thing that we’ve been doing since freshman year, and now we’re in the highest position, whatever, of that thing. It’s weird to not have that. Do you have that in any sort of club or extracurricular thing that you’ve done? 

Stefan: Okay, this is kind of pathetic to say, but honestly, not really.

Melina: Oh. I was just wondering.

Stefan: Yeah, since freshman when nothing just nothing really stuck out to me. And, okay this is even more bad to say, but the reason I’m part of Journalism this year is to gain points for art, whichever one this is part of. But hey, I don’t regret it though. I actually enjoy—

Melina: Yeah, and you said you wanted to be a creative writing major anyway, so that’s helpful.

Stefan: Yeah. Yeah. 

Melina: Yeah. No, that’s totally fine. I was just wondering if there’s like something that’s like, “Oh, man, I’ve been wanting to do that since I was really young. And now that I’m here, I can’t do that.” But that’s, it’s still cool. I mean, sometimes there isn’t a club and sometimes there isn’t a thing, and that’s totally okay. I’m just wondering. I have one more point about just kind of fluffy things about being a senior unless someone else wants to bring up something we’ve already talked about. 

Zianna: I have another topic. I’d love to. May I say rant about? After you, Melina. 

Melina: Oh, okay. I was, because I keep thinking about the little things right, like Zianna said, and when you see the freshmen in the halls, and they look really small. And you’re like, they’re like babies, and you’re like, wait, wait, you know what I mean? You’re walking, you’re like, oh, my God, there’s freshmen there. And you’re like, wait, I’m the senior. Because I remember when I was a freshman, I thought they were all so tall and scary. But being on the other side of that was something I was looking forward to. 

Zianna: Yeah. I wanna be a scary senior.

Melina: Right? Even that sounds bad but kind of. Yeah.

Stefan: Yeah. ‘Cause mentally I don’t feel like I’ve aged since fourteen, to be honest.

Melina: Exactly! I feel like I look the same. But then to them. It’s like, “Woah, you’re a senior,” and you’re like, “Yeah, I am.” But we don’t get that. That was another little thing that I was thinking about. Okay, Zianna, go ahead. What do you want to rant about? 

Zianna: Well, I kind of want to say something off of what you said. I always felt kind of intimidated by the upperclassmen and even 2020 last year, and I was really ready to just be able to go to school and not feel particularly, I guess, intimidated by juniors and just have that one experience where we are up here because I haven’t felt like that since eighth grade and middle school. 

Melina: Exactly. Every year you get to fifth and then you’re at the top, and then you start again at sixth. And then you’re at the top of eight. We were waiting for that time, and we never got it.

Stefan: Oh, well. There’s always college I guess. 

Melina: Yeah. But then because in college, it’s so different because there’s people who are transfer students, or there’s people who have way more credits and they’re 20 in a different year where not everyone else is 20. So this was the last chance to be on the top and it’s gone. 

Zianna: Yeah. And college is all adults, and they’re more mature about it. We still want to be… we still have that kid “want” to be on the top of things, and this would be our very last indulgence and that feeling. Speaking of—well, I guess this is the topic of our entire podcast of things that we really miss are looking forward to. Friday Night Lights. Football games. Our very last ones. I know Melina, I think I’ve seen you at a couple too, right?

Melina: Yes, I have been to a football game. 

Zianna: Okay. Yeah. So I am so the loser who’s very invested in something like school-related—

Melina: You’re not a loser for being invested in something that brings you joy. 

Zianna: I’m such a nerd about high school. I think it’s… I’m one of those ASB kids that are concerningly they love being in high school. 

Melina: Hey, it’s if that makes you happy, then there’s no reason for you to feel embarrassed about it. We all have different loves in this world. It’s fine. 

Zianna: Yeah. I mean, I promise you this. I’m not peaking in high school. This is a slope and it’s only going upwards. Of course, that’s me saying that. What I wanted to say is that I bought a $400 letterman jacket for dance team.

Melina: Zianna.
Zianna: It’s optional. It’s optional, but being on dance team for four years, I wanted to get one of those really cool jackets that all the cool girls had with your name on it and then you get the class of 21. And then you get your last name on the back with a beautiful like “glitter-ated” dancer. My friends had one and it was just so beautiful, and I’m like, “Oh my God. This would be so great to have senior year. This would be a really nice keepsake for more my four years on the Santa Clara High School dance team.” So I have it. It’s in my closet back there, super cute. It’s beautiful. I’m very grateful for it, but I will be wearing it from the comfort of my own room this year. I doubt that we will have football games. It’s really disappointing along with us, we don’t even have uniforms. If we go back to school, we’re literally going to perform and cheer in like a tank top and leggings. I’m gagging. But I kind of feel like a clown because it comes to show how much I took for granted. At least I have a newfound feeling of gratitude towards everything I have. Just make the most out of things. Be grateful for your experience and you know, sometimes, the future that you prepare for, it’s not going to be what you expected it to be, but it’s still going to be something that you enjoy. 

Melina: I love that. That’s beautiful. Yeah. That sucks that you paid $400 for that, but at the same time, it is even though you didn’t get to dance your last year, it’s still a keepsake of three whole years.

Stefan: Yeah, and you have bragging rights.

Zianna: Maybe I can wear it in college.

Melina: If you go to UCLA, it’s the same mascot. You’re done. You’re solid.

Zianna: Exactly. But the thing is, if I go to USC, their colors are red. 

Melina: It’s okay. That’s fine. 

Zianna: It could be a little weird. They would think I’m wearing some kind of UCLA merch, and they’re very… they have a little rivalry. 

Melina: But it’s still a keepsake. It’s still something that you can hold dear to your heart. I feel really bad for the yearbook kids because how are they going to do it this year? They’ve been asking for people to send in pictures, and I’ve tried to send anything I possibly can. This is sad; this is my loser thing. On the opposite end of the spectrum. If you don’t know, I have a sister; her name is Sofia. She’s two years older than me. She’s all I ever talk about but—

Zianna: Oh, we know Sofia.

Melina: Anytime we had yearbooks because my mom was like, “I’m not paying for two because that’s a smart financial move because we have two kids at the same school.” So anytime we had yearbooks, I was like, “Oh, I don’t want to infringe on her signing pages,” so I would let her just get them signed by herself. I would make my own fake yearbook for my friends to sign. And I was like, “You can have all the pages in the real one because you’re the older sister. It’s fine.” I was like, “Oh, my senior year, I’ll have my yearbook and all my friends can sign it will be my pages.” Nope. I’ll still have the yearbook, but the only people that can sign it are the people that are in my social bubble. I wanted a signature. My freshman year I didn’t get mine signed by Ansaldo because I was like, “Oh, Ansaldo is our Journalism advisor.” I sometimes forget we’re doing a podcast and I’m just talking like we’re friends. Mr. Ansaldo is our Journalism advisor. So my freshman year, I didn’t get it signed by him because I was like, “Oh, it’s Sofia’s book.” And also, I was like, that’s weird. I feel like I didn’t know him enough. I was so excited to get it signed senior year by him. That’s not gonna happen. I mean, maybe. Again, we can’t say never. But that was another thing I was thinking about is the yearbooks. I want one.

Zianna: If you want to know a cool substitute for that, Melina, I saw somebody do this on Instagram for, quote, unquote, signing a yearbook once you get it. You can do a little Instagram poll or someone you know, the question thing, so you could be like, somebody just signs it like, “Oh, I had such a great year with you, yada, yada, yada,” and then she printed it out and glued it in her thing. 

Melina: I saw that too. I saw that too.  I just don’t feel like I have the confidence to be like, “Tell me why you love me.” I don’t know. I feel like I’d get like two results and they’d be from people I already know and hang out with. But, I do like that idea. I think it’s cute. We’ll see. We shall see. I was actually debating doing that last year for a fake one, but I didn’t. I don’t know. There’s a lot of things that suck, but there’s also a few things that are good. I do agree with the whole gratitude thing, and we touched on this on the first podcast we did. Promo, go listen to it. But we did touch on this. We learned gratitude and appreciating the people in your life and things like that because you never know when something’s just gonna completely change the way you live, and people say that—everybody says that—and you know that that’s true, but actually experiencing it has made it way more… I think that change has actually happened in a lot of us. Sorry. Stefan. I think I cut you off. Go ahead.

Stefan: Oh, no, just yeah. We do have… just repeating what you said, but we do have some good things; we do some bad. I mean, applying to colleges and stuff, and I’m fine with just doing everything online. Yeah, it kind of sucks, we don’t get to go to the actual campus and do that whole thing. Honestly, I never really cared about campus size or anything like that. I just want to know if I could actually get accepted or majors and stuff like that. I didn’t really care about that, but I know people who do, and I sympathize with that. But for me personally, just… I do wish we can go back to school even if it’s just hybrid or it’s just—

Melina: Yeah, just the experience of walking through the halls one more time. I get that. No, but I do like what you brought up about college because I think it’s actually easier because you can just sort of research whatever you want because they have way more. If they weren’t technologically savvy before, they definitely aren’t now. You can get any information you want, so I definitely agree with that. I like that point. Z, any final words, final anything? 

Zianna: I really enjoyed speaking on this podcast, just really having that chance to indulge in my dorky disappointment of what senior year actually is. But you know, I think that in a broader spectrum or a broader point of view, our problems right now are very small compared to the problems of the world, and it is important to acknowledge that. But also, it’s important to acknowledge our little disappointments like this one as well. 

Melina: I totally agree. I like that.

Stefan: Yeah.

Zianna: I’m really glad we got to talk about this, guys. And thank you for listening to this podcast. 

Melina: Yes, Zianna. Yeah. No, I really liked what you said. There are a lot of things going on that are not fun in any way. But of course, sometimes you feel guilty about complaining about things like this. But we do have to put things into perspective and realize it’s okay to be a little upset and a little sad and then continue to make change in the world every day. Cool. All right, unless anyone else has anything to say. Yes, thanks for having us. Thank you for listening. No, but we would if you would like to share this podcast with people would appreciate it and episodes will be coming out more frequently very soon as we begin this year. So thank you for listening to the first episode of this year. Yay. And thank you, Zianna and Stefan for doing this.

Stefan: Thank you so much, yeah. Bye.

Zianna: Bye y’all. 

Melina: Bye everyone.