Ninth Graders’ Experiences at Bronx Science During the Remote Learning Period

The Bronx Science S.O. Cabinet advertised their first ever virtual 9th Grade 'Find A Friend Event' on their instagram page. “The S.O. Cabinet plans to expand on the 'Find a Friend' event all year long to help our ninth-graders adjust to Bronx Science. Each of these upcoming events will serve as an icebreaker for students to help them get to know each other better,” said Allison Errico ’22, a member of Bronx Science's S.O. Cabinet.

Rachel Koon

The Bronx Science S.O. Cabinet advertised their first ever virtual 9th Grade ‘Find A Friend Event’ on their instagram page. “The S.O. Cabinet plans to expand on the ‘Find a Friend’ event all year long to help our ninth-graders adjust to Bronx Science. Each of these upcoming events will serve as an icebreaker for students to help them get to know each other better,” said Allison Errico ’22, a member of Bronx Science’s S.O. Cabinet.

Everyone remembers what it was like to enter the doors of Bronx Science for the first time. For many, their first year at Bronx Science is full of memories that they can look back upon fondly. They can reminisce about the new friends whom they made in the cafeteria, their first order of Ned’s fries, or their difficulty at first navigating the seemingly endless halls. Year after year in September, a new generation of Bronx Science students enter the building that will become their second home for the duration of their high school careers. The transition from middle school to high school is difficult enough as it is, so how is the class of 2024 managing in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic when students are not physically attending the school that they worked so hard to get into? Due to rising COVID-19 cases in New York City, all NYC public schools are closed as of November 19th, 2020 and will remain closed until the COVID-19 case rate lowers below the 3% weekly threshold rate set for triggering a closure. So currently, all Bronx Science students are doing remote learning from home. 

Making new friends is usually one of the most intimidating parts of starting at a new school. In an online environment, it feels more difficult to make authentic bonds with a bunch of profile pictures on Zoom or blank screens. How can students make new friends during this difficult time of virtual schooling? 

Luckily, many of our newcomers are working to overcome the communication barriers that come with making friends online. “I met some new people and made some friends, but it was difficult. As opposed to meeting in person, it is more awkward to talk on Zoom,” said Arianna Hwang ’24. However, some are struggling more than others when forming friendships through a screen. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have familiar faces from their middle school at Bronx Science. One ninth-grader expressed the difficulties of making friends without clubs and face-to-face interactions, “I know no one from previous experiences. I have met people, but the circumstances make it really hard for us to become friends.”  

On top of the social aspects of school, many of the ninth graders have experienced some challenges with learning from home. A common issue is that it is much easier to be distracted and to feel unmotivated while learning online, remotely from home. “I don’t particularly dislike online learning; however, it is much more difficult to pay attention,” said Hayden Klinger ’24.  

Like everything else in 2020, starting high school this year is far from conventional, and remote schooling from home only further complicates matters. Many ninth graders want to try our famed food trucks, join a sports team, or physically participate in a club, all of which are on hold due to social distancing requirements needed to lower the risk of contracting and/or spreading COVID-19. Others even yearn for the days when they will once again be able to commute to school. “I feel like I’m missing out on in-person clubs and just the daily hassle of having to physically go to school. I know having to get up early is not something that is usually considered positive, but it’s all part of the Bronx Science experience,” said Elizabeth Guerrero ’24. Even the negative aspects of school are part and parcel of the high school journey, and at the end of the day, they become part of the memories that you can look back at fondly, in the future.  

As the months pass in our unprecedented 2020-2021 academic year, the ninth graders will further adapt to the changes that have come with the Coronavirus pandemic. Students have been finding new ways to meet online and to talk with each other virtually. Some are joining and creating group chats on social media with their classmates. There is even a Discord server made specifically to help this year’s ninth-graders come together. In addition, the school’s S.O. Cabinet has organized various events such as the Ninth Grade ‘Find A Friend’ Event in order to help them adjust to the school. And of course, knowing that everyone around the world is struggling during these trying times, brings a sense of solidarity. We are all in this together. “All of the new friends whom I’ve made at Bronx Science so far zealously try to help me out when I have some sort of problem,” said Eric Jing ’24. With two promising COVID-19 vaccines only a few months away from distribution,  there is hope that the class of 2024 will become in-person members of the Bronx Science community some time next year. 

“All of the new friends whom I’ve made at Bronx Science so far zealously try to help me out when I have some sort of problem,” said Eric Jing ’24.

 

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