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Trepidatious Transfer: Moving To A New School In The Age Of Coronavirus

I made the decision to transfer to CB amidst an ocean of uncertainty. At the time, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had just begun to impact the US, and none of us really knew what the future would hold. We had no idea if the school year would begin online the same way the […]

I made the decision to transfer to CB amidst an ocean of uncertainty. At the time, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had just begun to impact the US, and none of us really knew what the future would hold. We had no idea if the school year would begin online the same way the last one had ended or if we would be able to start the year back in person. There was also no way of knowing how extracurriculars would function either.

One major concern for me was meeting new people, especially if we started the school year with distance learning. I already knew some people, mostly old classmates from elementary and middle school, but there was still a massive air of uncertainty surrounding pretty much everything else about the upcoming school year. Nonetheless, in April of this year, I chose to switch schools.

One of the biggest changes in transferring to CB was the general environment of the school. I won’t delve too deeply into this, but one of the biggest motivating factors in my decision to transfer was my intense aversion to my previous school’s atmosphere and culture. Once it became more clear that the pandemic wasn’t going to disappear any time soon, and we realized that the school year was most definitely going to start digitally, I kind of accepted that CB’s school atmosphere probably wasn’t gonna be immediately obvious to me.

But, once the school year actually started, it was made abundantly clear that I couldn’t have been more wrong. In a lot of ways, CB;s atmosphere was the polar opposite of my old school’s. Even though the distance learning format admittedly made it more difficult to deeply grasp the school’s overall environment and culture, it was pretty obvious to me that I’d made the right choice in transferring to CB. It’s hard to put into words exactly how I could tell that the environment was radically different than my previous school’s, but immediately it was clear to me that I was going to like it a lot here.

A major way that I could quantify the difference in environment was in club membership numbers. The first Young Progressives club meeting had nearly 100 people attend, a stark contrast from the less than a dozen members in the club at my old school. The moderators of the club noted that their membership had increased massively from last year, which was no doubt largely motivated by historic civil rights protests that had sparked across the country in late May.

One of the biggest motivators in my decision to branch out were the different clubs and teams available at CB. I’d done Speech and Debate since 5th grade, and while I did definitely enjoy its competitive aspect, I was ready to branch out into something new after doing the same extracurricular for over half a decade. I contacted Ms. Willow about joining CB’s Model UN team, and I was accepted. I’d always been pretty interested in Model UN, especially with its far more collaborative aspect compared to Speech and Debate, but my old school didn’t offer it as an available team. I was excited to join the team and have really enjoyed everything about it since starting.

My classes at CB are in a lot of ways similar, but at the same time different from the ones at my old school. I’m one of countless students who’ve found that the digital learning format has massively increased the workload in my classes. For me, this has been one of the hardest things to adjust to since the start of the pandemic, and I’m sure countless other students and teachers feel the same way. Students’ connections with teachers are just different in quarantine, which nearly all of my teachers have noted.

“Forming connections with teachers has been really challenging, especially since hybrid learning has started,” fellow transfer student Kirsten Pereira (‘22) says. I’ve never been great with communication with teachers in the first place, so being a new student and having to reach out more than normal is pretty hard.”

Students stand six feet apart on freshman and transfer orientation day.

Despite all of the difficulties with the online format, I chose to continue doing distance learning after the Hyflex learning schedule was put in place. I personally just couldn’t find myself feeling safe or comfortable being back at school in person, especially given the continued skyrocketing in new COVID cases every day.

For me, it was definitely an issue of trying to balance the connections that could be made in person with the very real risk of getting the Coronavirus. However, transfer student Kalia Martinez (‘23) made the choice to go back in person, which she says has been beneficial in helping her meet new people and form better connections with teachers.

She says that she chose to go back in person “for actual human connection! Even from 6 feet away.”

While the decision to transfer to CB at the start of quarantine was definitely difficult and filled with uncertainty and while the distance learning format has created its own share of hardships, I haven’t regretted my choice one bit. 

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