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Freshmen and seniors experience online schooling much differently

For the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, PGCPS has decided to continue distance learning. The county has said that this plan “is designed to provide a safe learning and working environment for prekindergarten through Grade 12 students and staff members amid the regional spread of COVID-19.”

PGCPS has also shared that every student will have learning opportunities in “real-time” with their teachers and have access to instructional materials for use at home during distance learning. 

Due to this plan, many students are starting their first year of high school and they’re last online. It’s a new experience for everyone. 

The new incoming freshmen are starting their high school career in a very unique and different way than others have in the past. This has caused mixed feelings and thoughts for these 9th graders. 

“My first few weeks of high school have been great,” said freshmen Daniel Torres-Blanco. “I like my teachers, they are really nice and seem like they know the subject that they are teaching very well. There have been a few hiccups, such as slow wifi, glitches in the zoom calls, and not being able to enter into some google forms. But overall, it has been great.” 

Although for some freshmen online school has been good so far, there are still others that are struggling and trying to get used to this “new normal” for us at the moment, which is perfectly fine because it’s something that is contrary to what we were used to doing. 

For the seniors, online school isn’t something bad, but most wish they could experience their last year with their classmates and just be in the building one last time. 

“So far the online school hasn’t been as terrible as I originally expected,” said senior Jacqueline Bernal. “I’ve been able to manage my time and get assignments done however I do wish we were in person sadly if circumstances allow for that.”

Many seniors were expecting their last year to be filled with the traditional events that take place, but sadly so far it looks like certain things won’t be able to happen.

“I was expecting a traditional senior year where I would help plan events and get the school spirit at an all-time high,” said Bernal. “From dances to football games, spirit week and prom, graduation all those events that would only happen once.”

Although these two groups are completely different and are starting different chapters of their lives, online school affects them all. Whether it is not being able to concentrate because they aren’t in a school environment, or applying to college and making decisions about their future, it’s affecting us all. 

“I prefer to be in a real school environment for the fact being that online school feels like an option, even though it is not,” said Torres. 

“It’s definitely nerve-wracking,” said Bernal. “It’s the fear of not doing it correctly and simply not knowing how to or what exactly you want to do with your life.”

Aside from Parkdale students, online school has created a a large impact for every student in the United States. 

In an article written by EdSource “Student perspectives: the pros and cons of distance learning,” many students from all over the country express their thoughts and struggles with online school. 

“It’s been really stressful because most people just want this whole thing to be over and I’m one of them but overall I just feel like it’s not going to happen since so many people still go out,” said freshman Olinda Raquel Figueredo Orellana from Kennedy High. “Freshman year wasn’t what I expected because of the whole social distancing. I mean it kind of ruined the high school experience.” 

“I feel that I’m not getting as much work done and have fewer resources around me,” said senior Katherine Henriquez from Richmond High. “It makes me feel more stressed because teachers aren’t there and you have to wait for their response which might take days because they have other students to respond to as well.” 

Although the experience of online school is different for everyone, its a good reminder to know that every student all over the country are also going through this new situation that has never happened before.