In-Person Learning: A Freshman’s Perspective

Kate Wiley, Staff Writer

Ding! On Wednesday September 23, 2020, every Notre Dame Prep student and parent got the exciting email from Sister Patricia McCarron. We were finally going back to school!

The past seven months have been immensely trying and difficult for all, especially students going back to school online. This pandemic is something no one could have ever predicted, and the hardships faced by all have brought our entire community closer. Regardless, students and teachers alike were thrilled to hear the news that we were going back. I, as a freshman, cannot speak for other grades, but I did interview a handful of freshmen, hoping for some insights as to how students felt about the change. Annie Rittershofer ’24 and Abby Doran ’24 gave their takes on our return to in-person learning.

My first question to the girls: “Health-wise, how do you feel about going back to school in-person?” They had to think about it, but the general answer was that they felt excited, not necessarily about going back to school, but going to school for the first time. These are freshmen who have heard about various opportunities here at NDP (i.e. Gym Meet, making friends in the sisterhood, Tree Trim, etc.) The girls were thrilled that they would get to experience those things, even in a hybrid model. Abby Doran said, “I think they’re going to do a good job of keeping us safe. . .we’re going to be cleaning the desks, wearing masks, and only half of our class will be going back at a time, so I think it’s going to be safe and I’m excited.”

Secondly, I asked them what they thought about learning 100% online for the past month. With this question, I got mixed feedback. From Annie’s viewpoint, online school “wasn’t too bad.” The breaks in between classes were the perfect amount of time, and it was nice to be more relaxed with free periods. Although this may be true, Abby told me about some negatives of online learning, like the length of classes. “You wouldn’t think sitting at your computer all day would be so exhausting. It takes a lot out of you. It’s bearable for the situation that we’re in, but I would much rather be going to school.”

Finally, I ended the interview by asking the question everyone wants to know: what is the one thing you are most looking forward to with in-person school? Both girls were eager and enthusiastic about telling me what they were looking forward to. A few answers were seeing new friends made online, being able to talk to teachers instead of emailing, and being able to get a break from their rooms and staring at screens.

Ultimately, the Notre Dame Preparatory community has come together virtually in the past months, but we are all ready to come together physically. I think it’s safe to say that students, parents, faculty, and staff are celebrating the news of hybrid learning, and we are all praying for a steady, healthy, and eventually full return to our beautiful campus.

First day back to virtual school!