Adjusting to a New Normal: Students Reflect on First Nine Weeks


Hibah Ahmed

Using a periodic table to identify elements, students Fred Fisher ’24 and Jacob Pryor ’24 study together before their chemistry quiz. After the first nine weeks, many students coming back from virtual learning have been able to adjust to the various classes at Westwood.

Hibah Ahmed, Marketing Director

After the first nine weeks ended on Friday, Oct. 15, students shared how they have readapted to Westwood’s ever changing environment in the past two months. Tests crammed close together, countless virtual and in-person extracurricular activities, as well as the intricacies of individual social life have all been shared obstacles for students this year..

“I was initially excited to see my friends,” Rachel Cai ‘24 said. “But I was really stressed out about being in an environment with so many things going on at once. For online school I could do all of my work during asynchronous time, and had free time to spare.  My most challenging assignments have been taking math tests  because they require a lot of focus in a distracting environment, and the time restraints are really difficult.”

Time management is a struggle for many students. Along with readjusting to the homework load, planning for out of school activities has been a difficult process to settle into.

“Everything feels a lot harder this way,” Vaishnuv Thiagarajan ‘24 said. “School is in-person, but clubs are virtual, and this hybrid model is uncertain. The hardest thing to manage was getting my homework done because last year in virtual school I got really used to student paced activities. It’s been tough, but I did a decent job managing my stress. In the next nine weeks I know I’m going to be a lot busier with debate and extracurriculars.”

The nine weeks offered an assortment of social events, activities, and even daily interactions with minimally acquainted peers. It has taken time for students to get used to a tiring social setting again.

“Coming back [to school] was extremely socially exhausting for me,” Rutu Ruparel ‘25 said. “But I think I’m finally handling it better now. I’ve become excited for school activities again, even with all of the assignments I have due.”

Although there were academic challenges, many found this nine weeks eventful, and back to normal for the most part.

“I was really optimistic for the [start of school],” Lorenzo Widyaratne ‘23 said. “I still am, I’ve met a lot of new people and I’m adjusting well to the social scene.”

The first nine weeks are done, grades are in, and students are preparing for what comes next. Although it was tricky, Westwood students were able to navigate the transition successfully and have ended the quarter on a positive note.