New Students Adjust to Life on The Hill
With the fall semester underway, students who are new to Hopkins are adjusting themselves to a new school environment, along with the hybrid learning model and other newly implemented COVID-19 safety procedures.
During the first few weeks at Hopkins, new students were getting accustomed to their schedules and workload expectations for the year. Locating classes around campus and following the block schedule system were new tasks for the new students. Jack Laganza ‘24 comments, “In my first weeks here, everyone, including teachers and students, have been really...helping me find my way around [the school].” Students are still finding ways to adjust to the homework load. Vedant Aryan ‘24 notes that he is “not used to having free periods” during the school day but is using that time slot to “learn how to manage [his] time better.” All classroom assignments and announcements have been moved online, and Head Advisor for Class of 2026 Jocelyn Garrity points out that “learning how to manage a school email account or how to submit homework electronically are new tasks to master."
New Hopkins students are also meeting their peers and adapting to a new community of people. Cecilia Anderson ‘26 mentions, “I have had a very nice time with making friends...in advisory and in my classes.” Along with meeting the other students, Anderson continues, “the teachers are all incredibly supportive and understand that we are all getting used to this new way of learning.”
New or not, when attending class in-person, students have to comply with and become acclimated to the sanitization and social distancing policies, which Garrity believes “are all part of this fall’s reality,” and the new seventh graders “have done a really good job navigating those issues.” Head Advisor for Class of 2024 Scott Wich also acknowledges how well the new ninth graders are following the mask policy, however, complying with the social distancing rules proves to be difficult for many. “I hope that it improves, and that we get even more vigilant about it now that we’ve gotten off to a safe start, and as the weather starts to make things more difficult for us.”
In a short period of experiencing learning in-person and virtually, students are already developing their own preferences. After receiving feedback from the Class of 2026, Garrity noticed how “most 7th graders seem to prefer being on campus to being at home during their off weeks, although some students admit that they appreciate getting a little more sleep and being more relaxed during their home weeks.” Anderson thinks being at home makes it “difficult to pay attention, [but] being in school helps you stay focused.” Natalia Schaffer ‘25 disagrees, mentioning that she is “able to get [her] work done in the middle of the day” when attending class from home.
This year’s new students are also adjusting to activities outside of their academic studies at Hopkins. Isabel Cheng ‘26 joined Hopkins Girls Field Hockey this season, which she says that “so far, it’s pretty fun” and was excited to “see my locker and do some exercises.” Athletics also have to follow the Hopkins health and safety protocols, and sports practices are limited to the types of activities athletes can perform this year. Laganza, who joined Hopkins Football, explains that “not having pads and having to socially distance limits how much football we can play, but the coaches are trying their best and we’re making it work.”
New students will continue to integrate with the Hopkins community and have more opportunities to become involved in activities- particularly joining clubs, participating in school-wide events, and even the possibility of returning to campus full-time. Garrity “look[s] forward to being able to have an in-person class meeting so I can see [everyone] at once and also running in-person, on-campus class events that are social and fun so we can celebrate being together once all of our restrictions are lifted.”