Features Magazine Volume 70, Issue 8

Hybrid by Grade Level: Is Hybrid More Popular Among Freshman then Juniors?

By Grace Gonsalves

Graphic By Sara Valbuena

The senior transition versus the freshman transition. Sophomores became juniors months and months ago, but does it feel more real now that we’re on campus with hybrid learning?  The pandemic has allowed for many transitions but also halted others.  I have wondered if different grade levels have felt the effects of transitioning grade levels more intensely now that we are on campus. To find out, I polled each grade separately and received approximately 100 responses in total. 

The two things that all four classes agreed on were that seeing friends has been the best part of hybrid learning and that hybrid is “good” compared to online school.

The freshman class has transitioned from not only WCI bridges to Las Lomas hallways but also WCI Zooms to Las Lomas Zooms. An overwhelming majority of 71% of the freshman class of 2024 answered that Las Lomas online  school was better or much better than the online school they completed at Walnut Creek Intermediate. When asked about hybrid, another large majority of 75% said that hybrid has been “good” or “very good.” In all, there is a consensus among freshmen that Las Lomas is better than WCI in terms of online and hybrid learning, an outcome I was not surprised by.  An anonymous freshman said, “It was so hard finding my classes at first, and then [I] wouldn’t go to that class in person for another week so it took me about 3 weeks to learn where all my classrooms were.”

The sophomores have transitioned from baby high schoolers to more middle ground, which has affected each of them a bit differently. 

A staggering difference in enjoyment was shown between freshman and sophomores. 17 freshmen said that hybrid is “very good” while only one sophomore said it was “very good.” Why could this be? One sophomore said, “I feel kinda overwhelmed, very scared I’m gonna flunk out. I don’t have any social skills anymore and the classes I’m failing in give me horrible anxiety. I don’t know where to go when I have an anxiety attack. The only thing I look forward to is sports and I’m scared I won’t make the team.” 

However, sophomore Bogdan Yaremenko said, “It’s definitely been different than freshman year, but for me personally, in some rather good ways. The halls are less crowded, lunches are free, and I have ample time between periods and to talk with friends. To be totally honest, I definitely wouldn’t mind if we never switched back to full normal school.” 

Juniors have felt the transition rather acutely; one junior said, “I still feel like I am a sophomore since we never got an official end last year. I like being an upperclassman and sitting in the rally court, but there is not a big difference from last year.” It’s possible that it would have felt this way even without the pandemic, but it seemed to be a general consensus among the juniors that many didn’t feel like upperclassmen quite yet. 

Despite this lack of transition, 23% of the juniors described hybrid as “very good” and another 61% said it was “good,” bringing in the very largest enjoyment among the grade levels. Quite interesting that, despite the transition, juniors like hybrid the most of all the grades. 

Seniors, as I would say, with bias, have been impacted possibly the heaviest transition-wise. The seniors have enjoyed hybrid the exact same amount as the freshman, 71% answering that hybrid has been “good” or “very good.” 

76% of seniors responded that they have what is called senioritis, a common occurrence among seniors where they feel less inclined to turn work in and more focused on the future or anything that isn’t school. When asked if hybrid had increased their senioritis, a majority of 56% said it “had not.” Senior Isabel Shic said, “I feel less burnt out at the end of the day in hybrid. Online learning gets tiring much faster and I always pile up work after closing out of Zoom.” 

One of the most frustrating issues for the senior transition has been the lack of activities and in-person time. Senior Emma Spivak said, “It’s been a breath of fresh air, going from not seeing people and being isolated at home to being able to socialize safely.” Another senior, Joey Anderson, said, “I mean it’s better than purely online I suppose, though I still don’t get to see any of my friend’s at school. At least I get to interact with people.”

While many are still struggling with the transitions between grade levels, the happiest news I can relate from this survey is that most of the 100 students surveyed are enjoying hybrid learning.