An Unusual Year: Freshman Adapting to Online School

Francie Mueller, Staff Writer

Online school is a different way of learning for all students at Erie High School, but especially unfamiliar for freshmen. Being a freshman under normal circumstances is a new experience, but during the coronavirus freshmen year will be especially challenging.

“It is so difficult when you are not face to face with a teacher, able to get in contact with and ask them questions,” commented freshman Abbey Whiteley, “I have had an extremely difficult time learning online.”

For some students, online school is way more challenging than in person. This is especially common in freshmen because a lot of them have no idea how high school runs under normal circumstances, let alone during the pandemic.

“I am just so clueless as to what high school is really like since I have never gone before. I think that if I’d already gone and seen what it was like I wouldn’t long so much for it.” Whiteley explains. 

Upperclassmen have an advantage that freshmen don’t, experience with in-person high school. Students who already know what high school is like probably have a better idea of how to handle online learning.

Upperclassmen can share their knowledge and experiences through LINK, a program that helps freshmen navigate their first year of high school. Even amid the pandemic LINK is still going strong.

“We are hopefully planning events throughout the year, probably like more lunchtime meetings and just making sure that link leaders are known to be present around the building.” mentioned Anna Williams, the Erie High School teacher who runs LINK, “If anytime a freshman needs just some advice from upperclassmen, they are always welcome to reach out to me and I can set them up with a link leader.”

LINK leaders will have the opportunity to help freshmen navigate the school at any time during the school day when they see them in the hallways. They will also be able to provide extra assistance and support through LINK lunches.

“So we have already done one event, we did these link lunches, where we invited different parts of the freshman class to a lunchtime meeting with Link leaders, their administrator, and their counselors,” Williams explains. 

Online school poses a lot of unfamiliarity for the students of Erie High School. Freshmen may find it harder to adapt to it, but through LINK and upperclassmen, they have the resources to navigate it.

A photo of Erie High School.
A photo of a typical freshmen online school learning setup.