Freshmen Reflect On Their First Semester Of Remote Learning

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A student’s study setup with a book and laptop.

By Isa Gil, Staff Writer

Imagine entering a whole new school, being able to meet new people and make new friends. It sounds exciting, right? For the 9th grade students at Niles West, their first year of high school hasn’t been everything they expected it to be. These freshmen go to school and hardly know any of the teachers or their classmates. Not to mention, they have started a completely new education system virtually. Now that the first semester is over, let’s get an overview on how remote learning has affected these students.

“I understand the school only wanted us to have the same learning experience as it would be in person, but remote learning really takes a toll on students and is very draining,” freshman Joslin Zakharia said.

Personally, Zakharia felt the “last semester started off well, and it wasn’t as bad as [she] thought. Then towards the middle and end [she] started losing motivation, and school started taking a toll on [her] mentally.”

Other students had similar feelings about the first semester.

“Honestly the first semester was kind of hard because when we first went into quarantine last year, learning was optional but now that we are actually being graded. It just created a lot of stress for me. Time management was hard, and I just felt unmotivated to do work,” freshman Afra Abdul expressed.

Most of the freshmen experienced the same thing as Abdul with having little motivation, but some also enjoyed remote learning such as Anna Lusson and Emily Pham.

“E-Learning had been challenging for me being a freshman and not being in the building,” Lusson said. “But I partly enjoyed staying home.” 

 “Some of the more difficult things were not being able to interact with my friends or staying focused all the time during class. Something good could be that I don’t have to get up super early every day and can sleep in a little because there’s not much I have to do to get ready,” Pham said. 

Like many high schoolers throughout the entire world, Pham would love to meet new people and make many friends, as those experiences are “kinda the point of high school,” as she puts it.

Overall, remote learning has affected freshmen both positively and negatively. We can sleep in for a few extra minutes and stay home, but it has also impacted our mental health and education for the worse by making us more anxious and unambitious. Hopefully, the second semester will be better for freshmen.