2020 Fall Semester: Student opinions

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As 2020 comes to an end, THHS students reflect and voice their opinions on the fall semester with current circumstances in mind.

Some students have found ways to adjust to the unconventional year. Freshman Tasneem Rahman said, “The fall semester started off easy but progressed to a little more work. The workload and grading policy now is very fair. I feel like I’m learning the same amount through remote learning as in-person learning.” 

Unlike Tasneem, however, many students said they faced overwhelming expectations from teachers while learning at home. Senior Hans Li expressed, “I feel that the semester needs improvement. The grading policy needs to be amended in terms of participation to provide leniency for those who do not enjoy speaking up in classes while at home. Teachers should add graded classwork that students do into the Classwork/Participation category.” 

Junior Samantha Deng agreed, stating that she personally has “been pretty overwhelmed during this Fall Semester.” “Just based on the amount of classes that I have, you can see that even 30 minutes of out-of-class material from each class means that you have a minimum of 3-4 hours of schoolwork,” Samantha said, “And considering that work [generally does] not fall into neat, 30 minute time-blocks, combined with the fact that time needs to be given to studying and completing projects, etc., it does often feel like my work-life balance is more of a work-work balance.”

Despite the circumstances this year, some felt that attending virtual events enriched their remote learning experience. Senior Alexan Vareles said, “Founder’s Day was done really well given the constraints due to having it remote. I found it very entertaining. I also thought the Senior Meetings were very helpful in reassuring/calming the seniors.” Several incoming freshmen, many of whom are still growing accustomed to high school life, said that the variety of events helped them learn more about THHS. Freshman Zara Masud stated, “I thoroughly enjoyed the [Election Simulation]. The seniors did an amazing job on grasping the personalities of each candidate and creating the episodes. Founders Day was also very fun. I loved seeing the musical performances, and the senior skit was hilarious!” Tasneem added, “I really enjoyed the Election Simulation debate and thought it was unique and engaging. I’ve never experienced a school event like that before but I enjoyed it and especially liked how it was aligned with the actual election.”

The Big Sib Little Sib program also received positive reactions from freshmen. The program pairs up incoming students with experienced upperclassmen, who act as mentors in helping students adjust to THHS. Freshman Evan Chibisov said, “I enjoyed the Big Sib and Little Sib program and getting to meet my classmates,” adding that “playing for virtual concerts and attending my clubs made it easier to transition.”

Students also enjoyed events hosted by different clubs. Freshman Yonna Yeung said, “Some events in the Fall Semester that I attended and enjoyed was the [Quantum Matrix Club] meeting with guest speaker Jason Hafner Webinar and Halloween Movie Night [hosted by the Bring Change to Mind club]. The guest speaker provided very useful information about college acceptance and the Halloween Movie Night was engaging and I learned many things through these two events.” 

Junior Richard Lu commented, “I attended several events during the Fall Semester. It was interesting to say the least. Although it was virtual, it felt like I was at school with my friends there, but through texting instead of speaking and technological sounds instead of actual projection.”

Following the winter break, the first semester is set to end on January 29th, 2021 and the spring semester will begin soon after.