Picture a class of freshmen that have been going to school for an entire semester, yet most of them still don’t know where their classrooms are located in the building, haven’t physically seen their teachers or classmates and couldn’t tell you what their locker code is. That is the experience of freshmen at LASA, and worldwide, this year.
While some freshmen have been coming to school in person, most students are learning from home. As ninth graders come from different middle schools, they enter high school unfamiliar with the majority of students. According to freshman Sabrine Petusky, virtual school has limited the ways in which students usually become more comfortable with their peers.
“It’s definitely been pretty strange,” Petusky said. “I’m at a new school and everything’s online, so I haven’t really been able to meet many people.”
Freshman Lyssa Lashus feels that isolation has majorly impacted the ways she interacts with people. For her, making new friends was something she was looking forward to in high school.
“Anytime I’m around someone, I talk a lot and get really energetic about everything because it’s just like ‘Oh my god, another human being,’” Lashus said. “Not having that social interaction in class or being able to see everyone has made connecting and communicating with people harder. That just made the first year of high school more frustrating and also made me a little nostalgic for the middle school days when everything was normal and you could just walk into a classroom and talk to your friends.”
Freshmen are finding ways around the looming feeling of isolation. Freshman Aurna Mukherjee makes a point of texting people regularly and going on socially distanced walks with classmates.
“I cannot have a day where I don’t talk to someone, so even if it’s on text, I do try to talk to people every day,” Mukherjee said. “Also, in a way, it’s been helpful to spend more time with my family because before [COVID-19] started, I didn’t get to spend as much time with them. Just talking and not staying locked up in my room for the whole day is a coping mechanism in its own way.”
Social life aside, LASA has an almost notorious reputation of being academically challenging, according to Petusky. After having experienced a full semester at LASA, she feels that the workload has been manageable to a degree.
“It’s honestly not as bad as I thought it would be,” Petusky said, “which isn’t to say that it’s necessarily easy, it’s just I’m used to having all of my classes every day — so with a blocked schedule, we only have to do work for four classes every day. It’s just that when you throw things like long-term assignments in, it can make it really difficult. I don’t have something always keeping me on track. It’s all just me getting my work done on my own, and there’s just so many distractions in my house which makes focusing kind of difficult.”
Mukherjee expressed similar sentiments to Petusky, adding that as time goes on, the workload progressively increases. According to Mukherjee, distractions are the main issue to keeping assignments under control.
“It is definitely manageable as long as you start soon and finish your work on time,” Mukherjee said. “I think that the main problem is that if someone doesn’t start when it’s assigned, then it’s very easy to procrastinate and not be able to finish.”
Overall, Lashus expressed that the people she has met are super hard working. Lashus was impressed with multiple aspects of the school.
“Although school kind of sucks right now, I just feel like I’m surrounded by all of these really, really intelligent people who want to work and dedicate themselves to their projects,” Lashus said.