How Are Underclassmen REALLY Doing?

Charlotte Medema (she/her)

After almost 2 years of COVID chaos and constant change, things at school are finally nearing normal. Here’s what freshmen and sophomores have to say about their 1st times, or not 1st times, on campus.

9th graders haven’t had a full year of in-person school since 6th grade. That’s a big jump going from barely getting used to middle school to suddenly on a high school campus.

Freshman Sahana Sarvabhouman decided to stay at home on Zoom for the last part of her eighth grade year. Her reasoning? “Why would we go back in-person when COVID’s still around? It doesn’t make sense… and also my mom told me not to,” said Sarvabhouman.

But now she’s on campus, and is loving it. “It’s fun! I like socializing,” she added.

One could assume that freshmen might feel overwhelmed after possibly missing a decent amount of the middle school growth years. Sarvabhouman said that “it was overwhelming at first — people are tall. But I don’t think I missed out on too much development — I think we’re all pretty much just going through that right now.”

Contrastingly, freshman Finley Cain did go back to her middle school campus for the end of 8th grade. “[Being a freshman in high school] just kind of feels like being a 6th grader in middle school,” she said. “It’s kind of fun getting back to school, it made me miss school, and it isn’t too overwhelming yet,” said Cain.

Arguably, sophomores have an even more interesting situation. For some of them who didn’t return to in-person last year, this is their 1st time on campus, even though they’ve been going to Campo for a whole year. Do the sophomores feel like freshmen this year?

Sophomore Henry Johnson, who chose to stay online for the 2nd half of 9th grade last year, doesn’t seem to think so. “I feel like I can do more things than a freshman. I have access to different classes and overall more things than a freshman does, and I don’t feel patronized as I thought I might.” said Johnson.

He added that Campo is a “pretty great campus and is a pretty amazing school. And I like this year a lot better than last. It’s a lot harder, because classes are harder in-person than online, but it’s also a lot better to be with friends and you learn a lot more in-person.”

1 really important takeaway here is how important socializing is, especially in high school. Zoom obviously created a lot of barriers in terms of connecting with people, and could never really compare to IRL communication.

Sophomore Nolan Cuddihy opted to return in hybrid last year, his reasoning being that he just thought “it would be good to go back to school — the social aspect’s always important and I think it’s nice to be able to meet in-person with your teachers and you definitely get more educationally out of it.”

“Last year’s in-person felt a lot more secluded, I’d say, definitely a lot more individual. Yeah, now there’s more people in class. Last year there were some really small classes, which I feel like in a way, did make it easier for teachers to work with students 1-on-1,” said Cuddihy. “But I did miss out on some freshman experiences maybe.”

The overall consensus? “High school’s fun,” as Sarvabhouman said.