After a year away, senior rejoins his classmates

Due to Covid concerns, Spiegel had opted for online instruction


Sarah Elliott

Senior Jake Spiegel spent the first three quarters learning at home rather than being on the Hill.

Nick Bozzelli-Levine , Reporter

Senior year is something to which many students look forward, a short period of life jam-packed with major moments such as TPing the Hill, attending Homecoming and being a respected role model for the underclassmen. 

However, senior Jake Spiegel missed much of that experience, learning virtually at home until he returned to campus only a few weeks ago.

Spiegel had been online for almost a full calendar year, during his junior year to the end of March. He then attended his senior retreat shortly after arriving. “Obviously, when school got out in March and went virtual last year, I wasn’t looking forward to it just like everybody else,” Spiegel said. “Then, once senior year started for me, my parents weren’t comfortable with me or my sister (sophomore Madison Spiegel) coming back, so they just kept us home and it kind of went a lot longer than expected.” 

He recalled the understandably strange experience upon his return.

“School looked a lot different, because I hadn’t been there since last March (and) that was definitely interesting,” Spiegel said. “It felt like I was starting the school year over again. I had to learn where all my classes were and was late to a couple because I got lost in the hallways.” While adjusting to in-person life was a bit difficult, Spiegel said that his fellow classmates were what he called “super welcoming” and glad to see him again.

Spiegel noted that while virtual life was difficult, he figured out ways to stay connected.

“I was bored a lot of the time,” Spiegel said. “But work and school really (kept me occupied).” His job as a notary officiant actually allows him to work remotely for the most part, so he can stay productive without being around too many other people. In addition to work, he said that staying in contact with friends via texting and group chats kept his social sense of well-being intact.

The quickest I could go back, I went back.”

— Senior Jake Spiegel

Regarding relatives, however, Spiegel said he wasn’t able to see them much but his family did get creative in order to make the best of the situation. “I think at the early times (of the pandemic), when everyone was on lockdown, we had a couple drive-by birthdays that we did,” Spiegel said. He also explained that he was able to see some extended family over FaceTime while everyone was still at home.

However, now that people are starting to get out again and the world is opening up, Spiegel and his family deemed it safe to return to in-person learning, something that many had once taken for granted. “My parents wanted me to be vaccinated, that was their standing on it, and I was able to get vaccinated pretty early because of my job, working in nursing homes a lot. I got earlier permission to get it than a lot of other students (my) age,” Spiegel said. 

Once inoculated, he was ready to return. “The quickest I could go back, I went back,” he said.

Now that he’s here, he offers some advice to students still learning at home.

Being virtual all that time taught Spiegel some valuable lessons about avoiding procrastination and staying on track. “I try to plan out my day, it just kind of keeps me structured. I set little goals and it keeps me in line,” he said. “Don’t let your homework pile up too much and try (to) stay productive and do things other than school, (like) staying active and working out.” Now, according to Spiegel, he’s all vaccinated and back on campus full time.