A Freshman’s Transition to In-Person Classes

Andrew Shen '23, Staff Writer

Everyone remembers their first days on the Berkshire School campus. That warm sunny fall day when everyone came up the driveway meeting roommates, saying hello to neighbors, and making new friends; it is priceless. However, with the advent of COVID-19, a lot of students have been robbed of that precious experience. For a lot of new international students, their first experience on Berkshire’s campus involved cold weather and snow. Not only are there fewer kids walking around due to the weather, but masks add another layer of frustration when trying to catch up with friends or meet new people. 

Coming in as a freshman during the second semester is a relatively tough experience; most of the other freshmen have already been on campus and have established friend groups. Additionally, because you’ve just arrived, you don’t know anyone, making it harder to join a friend group. Furthermore, speaking from personal experience, assimilating into a class when you’ve been a distance-learning student is quite challenging. Instead of having a plethora of distractions around you at home, you are now in a classroom with an atmosphere of people working hard, making that 50-minute class block feel like a lifetime. Lastly, the most important reason of all that makes life difficult: the weather. For the majority of incoming freshmen, the drive to school after a long flight might be their first on-campus experience which means they don’t know where anything is. In the negative degree weather with a blistering wind chill, getting lost would be disastrous. While there might be other reasons, these are, personally, the most significant.

Kirill Lee, a freshman from South Korea, recounted what he found most challenging. 

Kirill: The two main struggles I would say I faced the first week were “loss of direction” and “being unable to communicate with others” as usual due to Covid safety protocols. I have seen a lot of people over zoom, but masks made people hard to recognize, and I realized that I didn’t really know them that well. However, after a week or so, everything vastly improved. Of course, a couple of wrong turns, friendly people, and nice classmates helped out a lot. Furthermore, social media really helped me connect and get to know people. Since then, it has been much better.

Here at Berkshire, with such a friendly community, challenges are overcome easily, and friendships formed easily. Luckily, time makes everything better.