Freshman perspectives about starting school in pandemic

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Mia Muzzi on her first day of high school in 2020.

NDB students spent most of their year online until the hybrid model started in March. This means that most freshmen did not have their first day on campus until halfway through the year.

Emma Callicott:

This year was a lot different than the typical freshman year. I had always been excited to start high school especially after my brother went to high school. And I was even more excited after I had decided what high school I was going to, NDB.

Everything was going fine then the start of the covid pandemic hit. It was at the end of 8th-grade and at first, I was fairly confident that we would be back in person by the start of my 9th-grade year. However, that was not the case. As the summer ended, and the days until the start of high school neared I realized that I would be starting my freshman year online.

Even with this, I stayed positive through the first few months of school, confident that I would be able to return soon. But after a while, online the disappointment and loss of a real freshman year started to catch up to me. For me, it felt like the same amount of work just without the ability to make friends. It had always been hard to make friends over zoom.

After winter break we were finally given the opportunity to go in person for something called “NDB learning pods”. At this point, I had accepted staying online for the year, but my friend recommended my sign-up. So I did, and I think that it was a great experience. I was able to make my first few friends, but I still felt a loss of meeting my teachers and the rest of my classmates.

Four weeks later of the “NDB learning pods” and NDB planned to open up to a hybrid model. As I got ready to go to school for the first time I had mixed feelings. I was excited to meet my teacher and feel more like a real school experience.

The first few weeks of the hybrid model were a big part of my year. I was able to learn from the school and meet many new people. After a while of going two days a week, NDB changed into a four-day-a-week model with all students on campus. This is the most normal the 9th graders have gotten to a traditional freshman year.

Online school was a complete mix of good and bad. I had started my freshman year on Zoom and it didn’t even feel like my first year of high school.

Mia Muzzi:

My mom takes photos on my first day of school each year, but this year my photo was a lot different. Most of my first-day pictures are of me in front of my school smiling with classmates, but this year I was sitting alone at my desk.

This shows just how much my life had changed from my previous years. I knew that high school would change my life but I never expected the pandemic to affect my freshman year as much as it did.

In middle school, whenever I looked forward to high school, I thought about the football games, lunches with my friends, and dances. I didn’t think about going to school in my pajamas every day or meeting my teachers and classmates through a screen.

However, when comparing my year to my other friends at different schools, I saw how lucky I was. I am forever grateful for my teachers and their constant support and encouragement through this year. It was hard to adjust to a new school and new homework loads, and without them, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

This year, you have to remind yourself to think of the good things over the bad. I struggled a lot with this, but I have to say that in the end, I did get my freshman high school experience.

I am now in person four days a week and I’ve met most of my class through retreats and classes. I’ve obviously missed out on a lot but I still have the next three years to make up for it. I won’t let this one mediocre year stop me from having fun for the rest of my high school experience.

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