Starting fresh on Zoom campus

Starting fresh on Zoom campus

Isabella Cheng, Reporter

Everyone knows those “first day of school” jitters. The nervous swirling thoughts that seep into your mind as you step onto campus and frantically wondering if you’ll find peers or find your class or if you’ll even know what on earth you’re doing.

But, of course, due to the ‘rona, stepping onto campus isn’t entirely a reality right now. For the freshmen of the 2020-2021 year, the first day of high school worries seem to consist of “what if my internet goes down? or “Do I need to turn on my camera?”

Then there’s the all encompassing “what’s going on?”

How does virtual compare with physical learning? How has BHS conformed around this global pandemic and how has that been impacting the freshmen’s experience of attending an entirely different school and environment all together?

The freshmen experience has been vastly different compared to the years prior. This shift has been seen as a negative or positive change based on the views of various BHS freshmen, either a switch in the online school or a change to the learning experience as a whole.

When 2020-2021’s freshmen discovered that they were going to end the year and were entering high school online, disappointment settled upon the class of 2024. They had been looking forward to the end of year events and taking that first step onto the campus, although some do acknowledge the fact that going online was a good call, considering the shambles that our country—our entire planet—is in, it would be the safer option.

This school year has been a big change from middle school, back when it was much more independent and students needed self-motivation to get through the rest of the year. But the change has been seemingly positive, now with more virtual interactions and time with teachers to help guide the students through this transition of not only high school but a whole different system all together. This year’s system has been more manageable and more informative.

The transition to Schoology has seemingly been more beneficial in its organization and navigation, making the entry to high school a bit simpler in these strange times. Camila Noriega-Rodriguez (‘24) said that, “this year’s just a lot more organized in terms of schedules and resources that the teachers give us.”  

But welcoming the freshmen this year has definitely been much different than in person, expanding from SEL lessons and Character Strong, which weren’t entirely as welcoming as the program wanted the freshmen to feel. As Olivia Asmann (‘24) put it “[The SEL Lessons] often asked questions that could be personal and no one had formed relations so no one wanted to answer.”

It’s also been a challenge for some, diving into the school work and having to work with other students. “We barely know anyone in our classes, but we’re expected to do projects with them,” according to Kendal Graves (‘24). Clara Smith (‘24) put it simply. “It’s just hard to meet people over Zoom.”                          

Madeleine Stevenson (‘24) had said that she “wished they had just started like they had not online” and done one class with SEL lessons and started doing soft start assignments instead.

But as much as physical school seems to be now the preferable choice, given the choice between online school or physical school as a possibility in the future, it is acknowledged that online school may be the safest choice for students and families who are at high risk for the COVID-19.

This has been a drastic change for students everywhere, not only freshmen. But everyone is trying to make the best of it. Freshmen know it is not an ideal situation and that everyone is doing their best to make this all work for the uncertain present and future. 

In the wise words of Josh (‘24) and Nick Lennon (‘24), “If you can, turn on your camera. It forces you to focus” and “Be nice to your teachers or they might not be nice to you.”

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