Meeting your Classmates… Through a Screen?


Katherine Blanco

This year, students will have to meet their new classmates and socailize with them online.

Noa Belehssen, Staff Writer

Social interactions and communication are part of human nature. Although it might seem harder to make new friends and socialize during online school, it is a vital part of our teenage years. High school can be stressful and overwhelming, so it is beneficial to have other students there to ask for help when needed. Most importantly, students should not only focus on academics; finding a balance by joining clubs to meet new people or participating in group projects is key to improving your high school experience.

It has been brought to multiple students’ attention that almost none of their peers converse or participate during the online classes, especially in freshmen classes. Some teachers who use Zoom as their virtual class software like to use the breakout room feature with the hope that in smaller groups, students will feel less anxious and will be able to have discussions easily. Unfortunately, that has not been working very well either. In general, people usually put pressure on themselves to avoid embarrassment or for others to like them. In a setting with fewer people, the feeling of making a good impression on others increases.

“I was in a breakout room with people I know and it was so quiet. When I said ‘speak’ they started laughing, why does this have to be so awkward? Everybody puts so much pressure on themselves, they should take things a little lighter,” junior Stephanie Andrade said.

Overcoming shyness just takes time; it is about becoming comfortable and familiar with other students. There are also ways to make conversations less awkward: stop overthinking what you are about to say and take the pressure off yourself and get other people to talk about themselves. You can also ask follow up questions, become a better listener and nod your head to show you’re paying attention.

This tip might sound like something you hear everyday but it is the most important: be yourself. If you worry that people will judge you, it could be that it’s really you who is judging yourself. Being yourself from the start will ensure that the people who stick with you know the real you and this will also make you comfortable in the future.

Furthermore, quarantine has significantly increased laziness and some students might be too sluggish to participate or even have a simple conversation with a few of their classmates. This means some students won’t feel the need to converse as much, so trying to talk to the more talkative students might be best. A good way to socialize easily is to go to people with your same interests.

“I would tell students to just think of it like a classroom and once you put yourself in that setting then it will help you just normalize it a bit more and make it more comfortable. What motivates me to talk to other students I have not met before is to think that we are both in the situation,” junior David Kuper said.

These are just a few tips to help with general difficulties that some students might have, but there are many factors that might make it harder for students to get through virtual school smoothly. Socializing is important, especially at this age when we rely a lot on friends and sometimes it is easier to talk to them then family or adults. Stepping out of your comfort zone and overcoming your diffidence is all worth it when you end up meeting people that will impact your high school experience.