A High School Beginning Unlike Any Other

Members of the Bronx Science class of 2024 have officially started high school; how different is their experience compared to what they imagined, given the constraints imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic?

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Kamya Parikh

Kamya Parikh’s first year of high school can be described using two words: Google Meets.

High school in the movies has certain tropes that appear again and again: new friends, some drama, exciting social scenes, numerous clubs and sports, and much more freedom. With all this influence from the media, it is easy for incoming ninth graders to go into high school with certain expectations. The current reality for much of the Bronx Science Class of 2024, given the restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic, is that they are wearing pajamas to class, and the only interactions that they are experiencing with the rest of their grade are through a computer screen. Suffice it to say, things are quite different this year, given the need for safety amidst the novel Coronavirus pandemic. 

When the class of 2024 first received their acceptance into Bronx Science in March 2020, many of them could not have been any more thrilled. “When I first received an offer from Bronx Science, it felt like all of my hard work to get in had paid off. I honestly felt like the luckiest person in the world!” said Eva Uddin ’24. Uddin mentions that although she was nervous about socializing with a completely new group of people, she was looking forward to all the new friends that she would be able to make. While she has held her expectations to these standards, high school being remote has definitely caused a shift. “It has been next to impossible for me to make new friends so far. I never really got the chance to connect with my classmates the way that you could in person, such as in the hallways and in the cafeteria,” said Uddin. 

A major portion of the Bronx Science community is involved within the plethora of sports and clubs that the school has to offer. As ninth graders, one of the easiest ways to make friends is actually through joining these teams and clubs. Not only can you meet people with shared interests, but it gives you an opportunity to become involved throughout the school as a whole. Given the current circumstances that we find ourselves in, all PSAL Sports have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, and all club meetings are now entirely virtual on Zoom. Kamya Parikh ’24 said, “remote clubs are not the ideal, of course. I believe that the experience of physically interacting with my peers and learning new things and creating a comfortable atmosphere is not as easy to do online.”  Parikh and others recognize, of course, that safety of students and faculty alike is paramount, so virtual clubs are best from a safety standpoint, given the trajectory of the Coronavirus pandemic and the fact that many students opted for fully remote learning at home this year. 

While the social element of high school has been quite different for the class of 2024, the expectations that they had regarding the workload were similar to their experiences thus far. Uddin believes that even though her schooling is remote, “the amount of work and challenging courses as well as a competitive environment would be the same as if we were at school in person.” Parikh maintained a similar mindset. She was aware that high school would be very challenging regardless of her current remote learning state. 

Not only do the Bronx Science ninth graders need to adjust to this new learning environment, but the S.O Cabinet needed to modify their freshmen bonding events to meet these new circumstances as well. “The S.O. recognizes how difficult the transition to online learning has been, especially for our ninth graders, so we’re currently in the process of organizing an event to encourage ninth-graders to socialize with one another,” said S.O. Cabinet member, Avery Look ’21. While they can no longer hold their annual ‘Fresh & Fringle’ event in person, it has been replaced with a similar virtual event in the hopes of adapting it to fit the virtual world. “We want to make the ninth graders feel like a true part of the Bronx Science community by planning fun events to break the ice for them. Our goal is to give them an enjoyable first year, despite the unconventional circumstances in which we find ourselves,” said Look. 

“Being a ninth grader in high school during remote learning is a new, strange, sometimes frustrating, but overall fine experience. It’s definitely something that I didn’t want to get used to, but getting used to it is all we can do to make it work,” said Parikh. While the new ninth graders are needing time to adjust to remote learning and to high school in general, it is important for the rest of us to make sure that they feel most welcome into our dynamic Bronx Science community. 

The S.O Cabinet is working hard to ensure that the class of 2024 is having a smooth transition into high school. (Avery Look ’21)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the class of 2024 first received their acceptance into Bronx Science in March 2020, many of them could not have been any more thrilled.

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