Freshmen navigate the first quarter of their high school experience

Freshmen+Noah+Notargiacomo%2C+Donovan+Mason%2C+Peyton+Moran+and+Jaden+Kaufman+work+together+to+solve+a+math+problem+from+their+homework+during+study+hall.+Students+use+conference+rooms+during+their+study+halls+to+get+work+done+in+quieter+areas+with+friends.

Credit: Mischa Lee

Freshmen Noah Notargiacomo, Donovan Mason, Peyton Moran and Jaden Kaufman work together to solve a math problem from their homework during study hall. Students use conference rooms during their study halls to get work done in quieter areas with friends.

Emma Zocco and Mischa Lee

The academic demand increase from the Wayland Middle School to the Wayland High School has always been a challenge for many students during their freshman year, and some feel that COVID-19 made this adjustment even trickier. Due to the structural changes and hybrid learning model resulting from the pandemic, the Class of 2025 endured a unique transition into high school.

As the first quarter of the school year comes to a close, freshmen have begun to adapt to all in-person learning and how to balance their school, sports and social life. The amount of time it takes when it comes to high school homework and studying is a big change for many students, and students such as freshman Bowen Morrison have learned how to best manage their time.

“I have started to study more and finish more of my homework, which on average has taken about an hour, depending on the class,” Morrison said. “Schoolwork [takes] up more time than it did in middle school, but it’s not too bad.”

Schoolwork [takes] up more time than it did in middle school, but it’s not too bad.”

— Bowen Morrison

Freshman George Stafford, who is an actor in the school’s upcoming musical “Legally Blonde,” has had to balance rehearsals, piano lessons, his social life and school work during these first couple months of the school year.

“Schoolwork has gotten in the way [of my social life],” Stafford said. “I’ve had to spend nights home studying for tests, instead of going out with friends. I’m usually up until about 10 p.m. [doing homework after rehearsal].”

Many freshmen are not used to the amount of tests and quizzes that are filling up their weeks. However, they have been getting help and have been using their own techniques to get used to the high school workload.

“I really try to get my work done when I can in study hall, and I meet with my teachers a lot,” freshman Emma Alongi said. “If I need help, I’ll come [to school] early, I’ll stay after or I’ll meet with [my teachers] during lunch, so that’s been very helpful.”

Freshman Finley Knapp is currently taking all honors classes that are provided to ninth graders and made the school’s varsity field hockey team, which has forced her to learn new time management skills to keep her grades up.

“It was a little rocky at the start [of the year], but I’ve been adjusting more and getting [my grades] back together, so it’s been pretty good,” Knapp said.

Not only have students been testing new techniques to make the transition easier, but teachers have too. Gwen Goldin, a ninth grade English teacher, has tried a variety of ways to give students an easier adjustment to the high school’s standard of work since she too has had her teaching affected by COVID-19.

I’m really trying to have [students] talk to each other more.”

— Gwen Goldin

“There’s been a concerted effort this year, at least for me, to try and not use laptops unless it’s [necessary] because last year we had so much screen time, and everyone was kind of just off in their own little worlds,” Goldin said. “I’m really trying to have [students] talk to each other more.”

Goldin is very glad that all students are in person this year after the educational issues everyone faced with online learning last year.

“It’s nice to have [students] all in and to hear your voices, and I feel like you’re getting the hang of it again,” Goldin said.