COMMENTARY: My freshman year of high school is full of confusion, nervousness, and hope

August 21, 2020 /

Freshman in high school across the nation are starting a school year that virtually no other freshman has experienced in the past. There won’t be a welcome rally in the gym, and there will be no meet and greet with new teachers. There will be no club sign up days and no homecoming game.

This is all part of the first high school experience, but consider this year very different.    

Students are forced to deal with a pandemic, which is bad in itself. But for students like myself — a freshman at McFarland High School — we are starting our first year in high school with distance learning.

I have always looked forward to meeting my teachers, especially on the first day of school, but meeting through Zoom isn’t the same as seeing your teacher face to face. Sure, we may do all the traditional first-day-of-school icebreakers, but talking through a screen rather than in person has made it awkward in a way.

Being a freshman in high school is typically very confusing. Freshmen are almost guaranteed to get lost in the school hallways of their new campus. And they often have trouble with their locker combinations. 

But this year’s confusion will be on a whole new level. We already don’t understand the basic concepts of this totally new school, yet we have to adapt through these circumstances. As if my new schedule wasn’t difficult enough, I now have to get used to this thing called a block schedule — something college students use. 

Thankfully, I have gotten into the routine of getting up and logging into my Zoom meetings for eight hours a day — the length of a normal school day — however it doesn’t feel normal when my classmates and teachers are on a screen. 

High school is tough, but it seems to be even harder when we can’t get to know each other unless we talk through a Zoom call. I get my education online with none of the satisfaction of traditional face-to-face school. 

Yes, going to school is about learning, but it’s also about meeting new people and having the opportunities to socialize and have fun during the day. 

I’m also bummed that I’m not going to experience the normal school experiences, like the homecoming game or the school dress up days, which I always looked forward to. Sure, my school is going to try and do something similar, but it won’t be the same. 

This is not at all how I imagined my first year of high school. When I thought about, it I figured it was going to be something fun that I get to experience with my friends and classmates instead of having scheduled Zoom meetings in order to communicate about class assignments. 

So yes, this year has been rather confusing, but I am convinced it will turn around and allow me to see my teachers and classmates in person. In the meantime, I will continue to adapt through these strange circumstances and make the best of my first year of high school.