Not a Normal New Year for Ninth Graders

High school is already a huge adjustment, and wearing face masks and social distancing; while safer, puts more responsibility on the incoming freshmen. (Getty Images)

With the different school year in full swing, everybody’s wondering the same thing:  How will the freshmen fare in these circumstances? Luckily, some freshmen came forward to offer their input on the school year during the current COVID-19 situation. 

Before quarantine began, the prospect of high school was met with varying expectations and emotions. Angelee Divingracia stated that she was “… really excited to meet a lot of people and make new friends.” Evelyn Rocha, on the other hand, admitted that she was “…scared and nervous at first because I didn’t know what to expect.” Melanie Nguyen builds on this by saying, “I was really anxious about it because when I was in [middle school] I knew the layout of the school, the teachers, I knew what I was going to do…” However, this changed for Nguyen, who continues, “When you’re going to go to a new high school, you’re exposed to a completely different environment, so you get to learn what you’re doing as you go along.” But none of them could have predicted how their mindsets would soon be turned upside down by the coronavirus. Arafa Shareef regretfully tells the Glenbard, “We’re all less excited since it’s going to be mostly virtual for the first month, so now it’s become ‘oh, it’s just high school’ instead of ‘high school.’  We’ve [had to] come to terms with it.”  High school is a huge milestone in the lives of many teenagers, so the thought of them not being able to appreciate it is disheartening.

However, they still plan to make the most of their situations by going via the hybrid schedule. Haiyan Tanner says, “ I prefer it [the hybrid schedule] because you’re online half the time and you’ll get a little bit of the school experience, too.” Even though times are tough, some freshmen only want a taste of what their high school experience can be.

Divingracia adds hopefully, “I want to get used to the format of the school. Maybe it’ll even be fun!” Having a ray of hope is extremely important during the dark days. “This is my freshman year,” says Shareef with determination. Rocha builds on this, “I chose hybrid because I want to go [to school] and learn.” Their persistence will prove to be valuable in the coming years.   

These students remained compassionate despite their situations and offered a variety of advice for their fellow freshmen. Keeping the virus in mind, Divenagracia emphatically states, “Stay six feet apart, no one wants to get COVID.” Nguyen generously passes on the recommendations of others, saying, “I’ve heard from upperclassmen that you should try freshman year since that will help you later on in your high school career.” Shareef builds on this, “Take freshman year seriously, do the work. Don’t slack off just because it’s online.” Tanner adds, “Do what you’re supposed to do, don’t procrastinate.” On a more hopeful note, “Keep striving. Even with this pandemic going on, try your best,” says Rocha with enthusiasm.

This pandemic has already put so many important events on hold. We hope that school can continue on for the sake of students everywhere since they all deserve a bright academic future.