Students Begin Semester 2 Classes


As Howard County enters into Quarter 3, students have been preparing for the transition from the first semester to the second. Students have been gearing up for new classes, classmates, and teachers.
Virtually, preparing for a new class can be a lot more complicated than it sounds. With only being able to see profile avatars through computer screens, it’s hard for students to collaborate and get to know one and other. Class discussions are a challenge, as are group projects.
“Classes like biology, P.E, and [performing arts] do not adjust well in the virtual setting because these classes are supposed to be hands on and need to be done in a classroom instead of separately and by ourselves,” freshman Rakshitha Prakash said.
Academic classes, such as the science courses, focus largely on lab experiments and visuals, which has proven to be very difficult. Athletic classes participate in sports activities, a lot of which are cancelled. Music classes like band, orchestra, and choir, are unable to practice and prepare for performances and music assessments. They require in-person teaching to have the full learning experience, which happens to be at controversy in current circumstances.
“When we started school this year, the pace was much quicker than in person school and I had to understand the content better to do well in other lessons and units,” freshman Riya Koshy said.
Due to classes only being a single semester rather than a full year class, students have had to take their education into their own hands and work more independently, without the nearby assistance of teachers and classmates.
While virtual learning has had its challenges, some students actually prefer it because it allows students to learn from the comfort of their homes, which many people have found to be better than having to wake up early to take the bus or walk to school.
“A lot of my plans for semester two are based on my experience with semester one,” freshman Judy Tu said. “I try to establish a plan that consists of a routine I need to follow to have semester two be a great learning experience for me.”
Students are creating goals and plans for themselves for the upcoming semester to improve their learning. In a virtual environment, students are trying their best to design study strategies that work for them while also trying to establish routines that help them create positive learning experiences. Learning from their homes, students have more time to work on their assignments and projects, resulting in an improvement of their efficiency and quality of work.
Classes like English, math, and history, fit online learning well because students can still ask questions and learn online as well as they might in the school building.
“As a result of taking virtual classes, I was able to get straight A’s while being less stressed [by the amount of] work,” freshman Pranavi Gorantla said. “Moreover, I’m able to utilize more time for my mental health without fear of falling behind.”
Taking only four classes per semester and spending only about four hours a day in class meets, students have had more time to complete assignments and projects. It is less stressful for students and allows them to focus more time on their mental health.
Powering through the hurdles of virtual learning, students are motivated and excited to join their new classmates and teachers for a hardworking and productive semester 2.