O’Dowd Freshmen and the Struggle with Social Interaction

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Caroline Pugsley, Copy Editor

In a time like this, society has resorted to empathy and feeling bad for those who have had to compromise a profound part of their life. For high schoolers, everyone feels for the seniors and everything that comes with being the oldest on campus. However, the class of 2024 has been deprived of significant opportunities that come with high school. The fresh start, meeting new people, and gaining new friends have all been compromised by online classes. The weary, shy, and self-conscious individuals are struggling to branch out, only adding to the pile of disadvantages of online learning. How are they supposed to find common interests, make connections, and share personal traits? 

Interviewing close Freshman friends, Elsie Pierce and Lucy O’Leary Herreras, both said “I just wanted to have the ability to meet new people and branch out of my friend group.” Both are apart of feeder schools, such as Corpus Christi and Redwood Day. These two girls shared similar feelings about how online school affects their social interactions. Being in the same class for nine years, Corpus Christi makes a student very excited about high school and new beginnings. However, with the implementation of being in the class with new people, one is almost forced to stay within their group of familiarity. “With half of my class going to O’Dowd I wanted to make new friends and try not to stay with the people I know.” Both girls experienced the feeling of knowing a lot of freshmen, but still wanting to branch out so high school differs from middle school. Both girls have strong passions and interests and were excited to experiment with them in high school. “I am excited to hopefully play soccer because playing for your high school team just seems so fun,” said Lucy. Elsie also vocalized, “I really love theater and although I would be so nervous to try out, I love being on stage.” However, these opportunities for Elsie and Lucy are not yet available, also hindering an aspect of social interaction. 

Everyone is being affected, but some more than others, and as a way to help the Freshman with meeting new people, Dragon Lairs has come to the rescue. Meeting every Monday at 10-12 pm, freshmen will be able to engage, talk, and find common interests in a more relaxed setting over zoom. Led by Dragon Ambassadors and the admission team, their goal is to give freshmen a space to be relaxed, and share who they are, hopefully finding commonalities.

The world is being forced to become adaptive and at O’Dowd, there is a strong emphasis on helping these freshmen feel welcomed into a completely new community.