Reflecting on this Unusual Semester


This semester has been very different, but some things may not have changed much.

Shreya Pendse, Editor

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things have been very different this semester, since we now have the option to attend school virtually. There have also been many changes made for people who are attending in-person, such as new social distancing policies.

This has led to several challenges, but also some new experiences, for both virtual and in-person students. Students now have to work more on managing their time and on adjusting to the new policies or learning environment, like sophomore Vasudha Thittai, a virtual student, said. 

“My semester was pretty good,” she said. “I’ve adapted to virtual learning, and made pretty good progress.”

She also said that the new learning environment means that she has had to adjust to learning over Zoom, and also to using technology more than usual. She said that she has learned more about working with technology, and relying less on paper.

“Learning complicated subjects became difficult through Zoom,” Thittai said. “It was hard to keep up with at first, but I’m getting better at it.”

She said that she also wants to get better at pacing herself, so she can balance her work and other activities. This is probably a view shared by most students. However, in-person students have also had to adjust to certain changes. Sophomore Jax Johnson said that he has had to adjust to the new social distancing policies. 

“Overall, this semester was pretty chill,” he said. “After getting used to the mask situation, it became the norm, and it was basically back to the same learning environment, except with cleaning precautions in place.” 

However, these are not the only changes to face-to-face learning. Johnson also said that another challenge this semester was the fact that there are less tutorials before and after school, and no tutorials during MegaLunch, since there is no MegaLunch. Other than that, he said that it was relatively easy to adjust to the new environment.

“For the most part, nothing has really surprised me. It has been pretty similar to normal, except for the spaced out desks and the social distancing,” he said. “Next semester, I would like to have a better work ethic in class, to avoid having to work on assignments from home.”

Both virtual and in-person students faced some challenges this semester, and some were similar, while others were different. However, this semester has also been very different for the teachers, here at LT. Ms. Lucy Miller, who is an English and Humanities teacher, said that there were several differences this semester, such as it being more difficult to communicate with students, especially virtually.

“One of the biggest challenges this semester was getting used to not seeing all my students in person every other day,” Ms. Miller said. “I really enjoy getting to know my students through conversations before, during, and after class. This type of conversation is challenging through Zoom, as we all get acclimated to this new type of communication.” 

Another challenge is switching all assignments and resources to Canvas, rather than having all of them printed out, Ms. Miller said. She also said that she plans to have more collaboration in her classes next semester. 

“Next semester, I am going to work on adding more opportunities for my students to collaborate in class,” she said. “ It is very important to have peer conversations about literature, history, and all the other topics we learn about in class.”

She also has some advice for students, for the next semester. She said that it is very important to avoid procrastination, because it is so easy to forget about the details of the assignment, or even to forget to do the assignment. She also said that it is very important to keep an agenda.

“Get an agenda! I use my agenda to write anything and everything school related down,” she said. “If you don’t have an agenda, get one. Or, if you do have an agenda but don’t use it, start now!”

Also, it is very important to reach out to one’s teachers, guidance counselors, or the assistant principals for help, she said. She also said that it is okay to ask for help or advice, regardless of whether asking about an assignment, or asking for advice or guidance due to stress from the current situation. 

“We are here to help with anything, big or small, school related or world related,” Ms. Miller said. “Remember that you can do this!”