First Year Fears: How COVID-19 Has Affected Freshman, Start of High School

Students wake up one by one, getting ready for their “first” day of high school. The sounds of birds chirping and cars driving can be heard. Slowly cars start to pull up as students arrive at the high school. When the students walk in they can smell cleaner and masks can be seen on everyone’s faces. Kids wander the hallways some lost and some not. As they start to find their classes, the hallways empty, and the start of a new year in person begins.

On September 14, students returned back to the DSHS campus in person for the first time in about six months. Some students who were returning have been going to the high school for at least a year and there were others who were completely new to the campus. The newest students are the Class of 2024, and they are the first group of freshmen to start high school online.

“Never in a million years would I think that I would start high school on a glorified facetime,” freshman Zachary Johnson said. “It has been a little bit sad and difficult adjusting to Zoom, but we are all making the best of it.”

Starting online this year is something that was out of the ordinary for everyone. Though it may have not been hard for everyone to adjust, it was still not the most ideal way to start the first year of high school for some.

“It was pretty easy adjusting and switching my classes, but I really wanted the full high school experience, especially since it’s my first year,” freshman Hailey Noieam said.

Since the Class of 2024 started their freshman year online, they missed out on some events that normally take place. These events were either pushed out to a later time or have been canceled. As well as everyday activities at school are just not the same as they used to be.

  “[School has been] very different from what I expected,” freshman Maya Davis said. “I was planning to meet more people and become friends with them, but now that I’m online, I can’t really do that.”

With new ways of learning comes new challenges as well. Before COVID-19 people already experienced issues, but with two different ways to learn and more rules, challenges have arisen. 

“I have struggled a lot with time management and staying motivated to wake up and do my work at the same place almost everyday,” freshman Isabella Rodriguez said. “Plus it feels super overwhelming and stressful with all the work we’re having to do all at once.”

These struggles have caused confusion, but despite the negative people have been able to grow into a better version of themselves. Being in quarantine has allowed some to reevaluate themselves.

“Quarantine has definitely changed me for the better,” freshman Erich Caldwell said. “[Quarantine] has offered a period of time to reevaluate and restructure my life. I am grateful that I have been given that ability.”

Not only has it allowed these students to grow, but also have a better grasp on what is important to them. Having normal everyday things taken away from these students has allowed them to appreciate the little things in life.

“I guess before quarantine, we really took friends and people at school for granted, but once school had to be shut down, I think everyone really grew a better appreciation for the people they go to school with,” freshman AJ Bergeron said. “I also feel I appreciate the area we live in more, because when we were quarantined, I would find places on the Internet, and be like ‘it would be cool to visit this place once quarantine is over!’. I think we all took for granted our normal lives, because once things got strange, we all wanted it back.”

By Abby Hernandez, Staff Writer

Featured photo by Kayla Childress

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