Freshmen. No matter what groups students are a part of, every student begins high school here. Slowly, they grow into experienced and responsible learners until they finally become more mature and ready for the next grade. However, this year, freshmen have begun their transition into high school completely virtual, which has evoked many different emotions.
“I don’t really like the online part,” Peter Fransioli (9) said. “I’d rather be in school because… I kind of struggle focusing online.”
Being entirely online has presented additional obstacles in the transition to high school. From preparing their workspace to fixing their own breakfasts, many freshmen have faced new challenges with their workplace shifting from school to their own homes.
“[One challenge is] waking up on time,” Jarryn Lowe (9) said. “It’s really difficult, definitely when you have to deal with online school.”
Not all hassles lie in the new home setting for school, though. Freshmen still must adjust to the increased workload that high school entails, which online school only seems to exacerbate.
“I feel like there’s more homework now, but I’m really not sure if that’s because of the online situation or if it’s just because I’m growing up and I’m in high school now,” Maya Zelinski (9) said.
Communication is also made more challenging by online school. Freshmen who are just starting to build a dynamic with their teachers must now communicate through email or other methods rather than in person.
“Learning is better in person because you can talk to the teacher one-on-one if you have problems during school,” Lowe said.
Many freshmen entered high school with high expectations, some of which are now shattered by the online environment. Some were hoping to make new friends, others to experience the freedom of high school; however, virtual learning has redefined those expectations.
“I was expecting to have friends in my classes and be able to ask questions, but it’s pretty much all changed now, so it’s difficult but it’s also a good experience,” Zelinski said.
Older students can also sympathize with frustrations freshmen are facing, as they remember the benefits of in-person learning, such as sports and spirit events.
“I think [freshman year] was a lot of fun,” Lauren Hobson (10) said. “Friday nights I’d be at football games and those were always super fun… but I think [the freshmen’s] transition is so much worse because I’m gonna be honest, online school is like three times harder than being in school.”
Without in-person interactions, football games and spirit week, the first-year high school experience is nothing like it used to be. While many freshmen are disappointed, this class of newcomers is taking in this experience with humility and optimism.
“It’s definitely a bummer, because that would be something I was looking forward to because everyone gets to have that and I know I’ll have other chances later on,” Zelinski said. “It’s still kind of a bummer though.”