Students explain: Hope for second semester


Collage courtesy of Emma Malinak

Throughout the first semester, Trinity students have grown familiar with various online learning platforms such as Google Classroom and Canvas.

Trinity students know that the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year was stressful, frustrating and discouraging at times. But, with a new semester starting on January 25, Hillers took time to reflect on the challenges of the first semester, share the wisdom they have gained thus far, and explain their hopes for the second half of the year.

Many students agree that the best parts of the first semester were the periods of in-person learning in late October and early November due to the fact that the time to interact with teachers and friends every day was of immeasurable value. However, the transition to cyber instruction was difficult for many students after Thanksgiving break.

Senior Kyle VonScio reflected, “At first, I did not learn as well online as I did in person… It took some time to get acclimated to the cyber learning environment, as it was new to all students.”

The switch to cyber instruction was certainly not easy, and many students regret the opportunities that they missed due to the shutdown of school. Interviewed students shared that during times of online instruction, it was challenging to not have labs in science classes, hands-on learning experiences in advanced classes or chances to get one-on-one help from teachers. 

Freshman Giana Sasselli elaborated on her class’ missed opportunities, saying, “The various periods of hybrid, in-person and cyber learning affected the experiences of my first semester by not allowing me to have the true first experience of high school.” 

Overall, though, students can agree that teachers were extremely helpful and adaptable through the many forms of teaching they had to tackle. 

“They put the students first and made sure we were comfortable with the learning style,” VonScio said.

Even when in-person interaction with teachers was not available, students found Google Meets and emails to be a helpful resource for communicating, asking questions and clarifying confusing material.

By discovering these ways to stay in touch with teachers, along with changing study habits, asking family members for help and finding personal strategies to stay focused throughout the day, students were able to take on the academic obstacles of the first semester.

Regardless, the lack of interaction through the periods of online instruction was frustrating for many students, especially those who rely on their peers to keep them motivated and engaged. Because of this, the second semester will be welcomed with high hopes. 

Some students predict that the second semester will be easier than the first. Due to the fact that online learning has become a new normal, everyone will be prepared no matter what challenges the new semester presents. Plus, for AP students, many classes have already covered a majority of the course material, so the main focus of the second semester will be simply reviewing and preparing for the AP tests in May. 

Of course, every student hopes that the second semester will bring more opportunities for in-person instruction and thus more memorable experiences with friends and teachers. 

“I am looking forward to the new semester. I can’t wait for a fresh start,” Junior Meredith Bryant stated.

This fresh start is a welcomed opportunity for many students, providing a chance to leave the difficulties and frustrations of the first semester behind. But, all students can carry the lessons they have learned in these challenging times into a new semester in order to continue to learn and improve. No matter what goals one chooses to pursue in the second semester, all students should continue to work hard despite any obstacles that arise. Good luck this semester, Hillers!