PHOTO: With Davis High returning to the school year online, this year’s sophomores have a harder time adjusting to their new setting (Photo Illustration).
By Renee Xiang,
The transition from middle school to high school can be a daunting ordeal under normal circumstances. This year, with the added stress of starting the school year online, sophomores are faced with a unique set of challenges which may affect their high school experience.
On Aug. 25, the Davis High Link Crew held its first ever virtual orientation. In order to make it a more welcoming experience for the sophomores, Link Crew leaders had to adapt the activities which take place during orientation — usually very hands-on and interactive — to fit the new online setting.
“We didn’t have any physical activities, we kind of modified [the ones we normally have] and combined them with some question-asking,” Link Crew commissioner Alex Di said.
Senior Frankie Saraniti, who is also a commissioner, found to her surprise that holding a virtual orientation was more effective in encouraging sophomore involvement.
“I personally actually thought it was a lot easier to connect with the people […] I think they were a lot more comfortable just being in their own homes. I had a lot more participation in my group than I did last year,” she said.
Sophomore Ben Simon felt that the experience was helpful in providing him with a brief introduction to other students in his grade level.
“I’m sure once we get back to school it will be like, ‘oh, you were in my orientation group, it’s nice to meet you again,’” he said.
One of the biggest things sophomores find themselves needing to grow accustomed to is suddenly being surrounded by new and unfamiliar faces. Having conversations in class and interacting with others in passing can play a big part in building new connections with fellow students, but this year’s sophomores are somewhat deprived of that opportunity due to the nature and restrictions of virtual learning.
“In the spring [last school year], you already knew everyone in your classes and you already knew your teachers. I already had all of those relationships, and those are a lot harder to grow over Zoom,” sophomore Emily Haws said.
Sophomore Claire Miller shared a similar sentiment.
“I’m just kind of sitting in a class with a bunch of people who I don’t really know and who I have no real way of getting to know […] Most of my teachers have been using breakout rooms, which in theory are a good idea, but unless you already know somebody in the breakout rooms, they’re just as awkward,” she said.
But despite the hurdles they face this year, many sophomores can agree that at least in part, entering high school has been an enjoyable experience for them.
“I feel like I am already learning more in high school, even though it’s only been a week […] It’s nice because this year we started learning [right away],” sophomore Macey Foncannon said.
Haws finds that observing people dealing with minor inconveniences which everyone can relate to can be a meaningful way for students to establish bonds with one another, even if it’s through their computer screens.
“Some people would have their family walk by, or have their pets coming in and out, or they would have technology struggles […] Sometimes things like that give you more perspective on people […] things like that we can bond over,” she said.