Online to In-Person Transition for Sophomores


The online school experience that followed the pandemic affected us all. We can all say with 100% certainty that everyone’s lives were changed in major ways, and our experience at school was one of the largest changes brought on by the pandemic. BHS students had the choice to either stay with online school or return in-person as a hybrid schedule midway through the second semester of 2021. Some decided to come back into the building to experience more of a normal high school experience, and some decided to stay online for a variety of reasons.

Being a senior now, I often think about what would be different if I had a normal school year as a junior. What I wondered about even more was how it must have felt to return to school this year as a sophomore without having the experience of a normal freshman year under your belt. So to answer these questions, I decided to interview Nadia Caesar, a sophomore at Berkley High who was completely online for her freshman year.

I talked to her first about her feelings before the school year started. Had she been anxious about starting school or did she feel prepared? “Finding my way around the building was something I was really anxious about because I had no idea where things were,” Caesar said.

Before starting the first day of in-person school, I wondered if she had any idea of where her classes were, who her counselors were, or any prior knowledge about her teachers. She told me that, “Before starting the first day of in-person school, I had no idea where my classes were, and I pretty much just had to wing it the day of”. Caesar continued to say, “I did know who my counselor was because I had talked to her before about my schedule. And I didn’t know much about my teachers.”

I wondered if Caesar had struggled academically, she told me, “I definitely have struggled a bit because I was so used to learning in a specific way. Online was a big change to now go back to in-person schooling.”

Socially, I also wondered if the transition was difficult. Was it hard to bond with classmates when you probably haven’t met a majority of them in person? Caesar responded by saying, “I was nervous about coming to in-person school mainly because it had been a long time since I was around so many people, so the idea of that scared me.”

Now that we have been in school for almost a month, I wanted to understand what her experience had been. She told me, now that she had been in school for a month, her experience has been pretty good, though it just felt weird adjusting back in person. “The best thing about returning back to school was just being able to socialize and see my friends.” I think this response is something we all can agree with and understand.

When thinking about our transition back, I began to think about the resources that could help to accommodate the change. So I asked Caesar if she thought teachers or administrators have helped to accommodate her transition back into school? She said, “I think that some teachers have helped to accommodate my transition to school by just being aware of the change that students went through by being online for a year and then coming back.”

She told me about her overall experience at the end of the interview, stating it was “So far pretty good, I have struggled a bit just because in-person school is so different from online, but I’m happy to be back.”

Gaining Caesar’s insight on what it is like to be a sophomore while missing the experience of freshman year was a pretty eye-opening interview. It was interesting to see how similar and different I feel now as a senior, missing the normal experience of junior year. I think as a collective group we can all say we are very happy to be back.