Freshman online: A new girl’s perspective on her first year in high school

Mailey Rash

I moved to DC from Maryland last May with the hopes of meeting people at a new school, creating memories, and living the city life. The pandemic changed all of that. 

 My freshman year of high school took place online from the guest bedroom of my house. Especially considering that I am an entirely new student to DCPS, this has led to some challenges. 

Once school began, I held high hopes for Wilson to reopen. I have yet to set foot in my own high school because my first and third-period classes had no in-person option.

Despite this essential year of high school being ripped away from me, I have enjoyed testing out virtual school, while also learning to handle the 4×4 class schedule. I felt that online school taught me how to amplify my patience (which was especially tested by technological difficulties), participate in groups, and ultimately break out of my shell when presenting in class. 

At my old school, when we had to recite a speech in front of the class, I ended up having a panic attack. I’ve always had a severe fear of presenting in front of a class, strangers, and even family. 

But this year, when I had to participate in virtual Constitutional Law arguments, along with presentations in World History, my fear of public speaking had practically vanished from existence—I developed a confident mindset when preparing and reciting my speeches. 

On the other hand, the social aspect of being a freshman in a new virtual school environment has been exceedingly challenging. While I have fortunately forged some new friendships this past year, I miss interacting with others in a regular school setting. 

I now see profile pictures of students on Teams meetings instead of their real faces, which hinders my ability to make more friends. Thankfully, I’ve been able to connect with some of my classmates via social media. I am glad that I have an amazing group of friends and that I have met individuals through my classes as well.

All in all, I am grateful to have moved to DC and to be attending Wilson because I have met the most astounding group of students and teachers. I cannot thank Wilson enough for becoming my second home, even if it was initially done so virtually. •