The New Zoom World


Photo courtesy Michigan Virtual

Photo Courtesy of: Michigan Virtual

Students rush through the gates and walk across the bright green field. After receiving all of their books, and finding their lockers, middle schoolers are seen gathering in a classroom meeting their 7th and 8th grade buddies. While the freshmen can be seen with their peer counselors and the older students are found searching for their friends or running across campus. On the field you can see people making snow cones and cotton candy. Along the hallway dozens of students can be seen crowded in a little corner, waiting for their chance to see the puppies. Every year at Prep, kids look forward to the new school year and making new friends, but as school has transitioned online, opportunities to get to know other people have changed as well.

In the past, events such as Book Day and trips have helped strengthen the bond between students. The switch online after COVID-19, however, has dramatically changed the way that these events work. Book Day previously had tons of different activities for students to participate in, including bubble soccer, a dunk tank, skee ball, and puppies. This year, however, students were told to drive by campus in order to pick up their books. While Prep gave student an abundance of treats to take home and the teachers did their best to make the beginning of this year just as exciting as the rest, it can’t fully replicate the experience of being on campus.

Along with the changes in school activities, with the absence of trips many opportunities to talk with one another have changed as well. Kayla Lee ‘24 says, “The 7th grade trip really helped me to get to know other people better”. Many students agree that these trips have helped people to bond.  Lauren Lopez ‘24 adds “Since we didn’t have the Catalina trip this year, I realized just how important the trips we had in middle school were to making new friends.” In place of the trips Prep students are typically able to go on, on October 14th students were asked to attend a Naturalists at Large event. However, being on Zoom does not provide the same experiences as it would when students were able to communicate with each other in person. On Zoom, people are given less opportunities to make connections with others, due to the fact that everyone is in a larger group and many students feel uncomfortable talking to so many people at once.

The absence of these activities have not discouraged people from making the best of the situation COVID-19 has put us in. Although many 7th and 9th graders have not yet met each other in person, they have still been able to make new friends. Rachel Lee ‘26 says, “I didn’t really know anyone when I first came to Prep. After about 3 weeks I met my friends through a group chat that includes everyone in my grade and met more people through there.” While it did take several weeks in order for people to begin to talk to one another, these students were able to overcome the challenges that came along their way. Danielle Tsai ‘24, a new freshman at Prep, believes that joining clubs has introduced her to many more people in her grade.

Having these opportunities still available amidst a pandemic has helped people connect with one another. Throughout this journey of social distancing, people have learned how valuable those moments that we’re able to have in person are. Although it may be a while until students are able to come back to campus, the memories of the friendships and connections made during this pandemic will remain all the more important as time goes on.