A Freshman’s Perspective on the First Semester


Tricia Kohler

First Day of Hybrid Learning!

Tricia Kohler, Staff Writer

Just a few days before my first school year at Notre Dame Prep, I got an email from Sister Patricia. It explained that due to the pandemic, we were going to begin the first few weeks of the year virtually. I rushed to my parents asking them if it was true. Unfortunately, it was. I was devastated. Starting out the school year virtually is unheard of in a world where pandemics do not exist. Sadly, we live in a reality where they do exist, but people have the resilience to cope with difficult times. My fellow freshmen here at NDP have learned to cope with transitions this school year and have learned important lessons this semester because of the pandemic.

Virtual and hybrid learning is new for everyone. No one is alone in this situation. As a freshman, it was difficult to learn virtually to begin the school year. I was exhausted every day from learning online. Socially, it was challenging to make friends. On a positive note, it was nice to be in the comfort of your home where you could sleep in a bit and eat whenever you would like. Once we started hybrid learning, it became easier socially and academically. Freshman Bridget May says, “It was a challenge at first, but it became easier as we progressed through the semester when we started hybrid learning.” She continues, “It was great to meet fellow freshmen in person. I also liked being on campus and meeting teachers.” Freshman Alex Connolly agreed, saying, “I think NDP has done a great job adapting to virtual learning. All of the teachers and students have been wonderful, extremely understanding, and helpful during these difficult times.” These freshmen believe the transition to hybrid learning was positive and learning became less stressful.

Despite transitions from virtual learning to hybrid learning, the academics remained constant. According to Connolly, “Classes aren’t too difficult and the homework load has been very manageable.” May explains, “[Classes] have somewhat been challenging and have required full attention. I have put much more time into schoolwork and homework compared to the time I spent on them in 8th grade.” New academic expectations have challenged us but have also taught many skills.

This school year filled with screens, masks, and social distancing has been difficult, but positives have risen from the ashes. With virtual and hybrid learning, as a freshman, I have learned to cope with many adversities. Maintaining courage and hope is what drives the human spirit. May voices the lessons that she has learned this semester: “I have learned time management and self-resilience.” Connolly adds, “It taught me time management skills, how to work to the best of my ability, and how to be better focused during virtual learning.” The human spirit is something that can never be put in a box, and these freshmen show that spirit.

This pandemic has challenged us in many ways. Starting out the school year virtually was difficult but has become less challenging. Academics have challenged some people but have also taught many lessons. Time management and resilience are some of the lessons that freshmen have learned. Although the email from Sister Patricia expressing that NDP would start the school year virtually was upsetting, we have all learned to have the courage and hope that this too shall pass. Hopefully, in the future, there will be less fear and stress, and light at the end of the tunnel. The first semester for freshmen was challenging, yet positives come out of every situation.