Ella Lindermann

Sophomore Gia Bexes making her way down the stairs.

By Ella Lindemann, Features Editor

This year’s sophomores skipped the year of thrown pennies and “go home freshmen” chants in the hallways when they were all stuck behind their computers for remote learning. Unfortunately, freshman year is really important for high school students because that’s the year they find out where they want to fit in. Whether it’s being a part of debate or maybe the football team, freshman year is the time for new beginnings.

Since remote learning last year was the only option for many current sophomores, some are having delayed freshman experiences.

According to sophomore Eric Neumayer, starting the year was a little nerve-racking.

“I was nervous with COVID. I didn’t really know where I was going, but I figured it out,” Neumayer said.

Many other sophomores had trouble figuring out the logistics of the Niles West halls and staircases too. Mixing that with the uncertainty of the pandemic, the first week at school for sophomores was stressful, to say the least.

“There are a lot more people than what I expected because when I came back for hybrid, there weren’t that many people here, so it was actually a lot easier to get around than it is now,” sophomore Vaughn Holleran said.

Online learning called for a completely different environment and for some, the lack of face-to-face interactions correlated with their lack of motivation.

“The major learning difference is being able to actively participate, and it’s way easier for teachers to see if we understand or how we are feeling that day,” sophomore Mya Iusco said.

Just like the other grades, many sophomores noted an increase in their attention span because they need to be accountable in the classroom.

“I need to work on my attention span because with remote learning, you could just do anything you wanted,” Holleran said. For her, there was always the temptation to curl up and take a quick nap while the Zoom class was still going.

“I got distracted a lot being at home, like being on my phone, so I believe I do better in person,” Neumayer said.

Now that school is in-person, many sophomores are excited to finally have the face-to-face contact and staple school events they were missing out on last year.

“I’m excited for homecoming, football games, assemblies and stuff like that. Just getting together through school spirit,” Holleran said.

Although this is a different experience for sophomores, many are enjoying the in-person environment and returning to the regular school schedule.