Fresh out of middle school

Freshmen are dealing with increased responsibilities in a tough online transition period


Image by Ebba Cha.

A constant stream of assignments overwhelms students in a time of virtual transition.

Ebba Cha, Staff Writer

Weekend getaways with friends and study dates after school. Daily hangouts during lunch with friends. Meeting people on orientation day. Before the pandemic hit, freshmen had a long-standing idea of high school painted by TV shows and movies. During the pandemic, students are attending online school, secluded from human contact. 

High school events still take place in an online environment, but long-awaited experiences were delayed for most freshmen. In a virtual learning environment, it’s hard for freshmen to become familiar with the community.

“I think I’m missing out on the freshmen experience, in general, because we didn’t have our first in-person high school spirit days and Homecoming,” freshman Ryan Park said. 

Freshmen have also been coping with stress and changing relationships during their transitions from middle to high school in a virtual environment. 

“I feel like I’m missing out on basically the feel of the TJHSST community. Especially since I started my freshman year, I haven’t really had the chance to know my classmates,” freshman Grace Oh said.

Not knowing classmates’ faces and personalities makes discussions hard to start and continue in classes. Without the feeling of comfort around new friends and family, freshmen do not feel a sense of community at school. 

“During virtual school, it’s always a bit awkward without that sense of community,” Oh said. 

In a school with diverse backgrounds, students are also missing out on making new friends and learning more about each other. 

“I was looking forward to meeting new people, since [TJHSST] is a school where people come from all over,” Park said. 

On top of difficult social interactions, freshmen have to cope with heavy workloads in high school. Although students are taught better time management skills, the overloaded coursework has left them struggling to cope with such a big change from middle to high school. 

“The main difference between high school and my middle school is that the workload is more, and that we’re expected to do it on our own time, and our teachers don’t force us to do it. We need to space ourselves out and have better time management because of the online environment,” Park said. 

Due to their seven classes, students must complete schoolwork in a more efficient manner. 

On one hand, Oh believes that there are some benefits to being a freshman in online school. 

“My time management skills have increased, and I have learned not to grind work, but to work smarter, not harder,” Oh said.  

On the other hand, there are multiple difficult aspects of online school. 

“My relationship with my family has been strained because I don’t really see them often. Plus, with the extra strain of the Coronavirus and the situation in the world, I feel like I haven’t been as close with my family as I was before I attended TJHSST,” Oh said.