Graphic by Josephine Schneider and Darya Filippova
With the biggest class yet, one might think that a Wilson freshman would have the opportunity to meet and befriend many. In a normal year this might be true; however, 2020 has proved to be almost shockingly abnormal. With school being shut down, new students have an abnormal experience meeting people and making friends.
Freshman Soli Jacobson expressed that “it’s hard to make friends when you’re just sitting in a large, [online], classroom while the teacher is talking.” Usually, students would have time before and after class to get to know each other, and would be able to bond over group work and class discussions. That is still possible, but online school has made it a lot more difficult.
Freshman Mercy Lusty agreed that “it would definitely be easier to make friends in person because we can actually interact and talk in class. Right now there aren’t many opportunities to talk individually with each other.” Both Jacobson and Lusty mentioned that social media is one of the most useful tools to becoming closer with new classmates, with Jacobson saying “it has been more important [than before] to reach out to the people in your classes.”
Freshmen aren’t the only students struggling to make friends in a new school. There are many new sophomores, juniors, and seniors who haven’t gotten the chance to meet many of their classmates yet. Alex Mundaca, a new sophomore, compared going to a new high school in person with going to one online. He said “it was a lot easier to make friends [in person] because you’re doing a lot more group work and the classroom is a social setting, so it’s a lot easier to make friends when you’re able to talk to them. You talk a lot less on the Zoom calls.” Mundaca also mentioned the impact of social media, saying “you can’t really talk to anyone unless you look them up on social media.”
Luckily, there are some tools on the online platform that allow students to connect with others. Mundaca said, “in the chat box I drop mad jokes, and whoever thinks my jokes are funny are my new friends.” Lusty said, “Sometimes we have to go into breakout rooms and get each other’s phone numbers and social media’s in order to contact each other.” While this certainly isn’t the same as regular school, there are ways that students can connect both during and outside of class, despite not being together, physically.
Overall, unprecedented times call for creative solutions. Simply stated, it’s not as easy to make friends online as it is in person, since face-to-face interaction remains an important part of forging meaningful connections. This only makes it more important to use the resources available to students in order to get in touch with fellow classmates. Who knows, maybe one day things will be normal again, but until then, good luck!