COVID-19 causes freshmen to experience an out of ordinary first year at Webb


Nicole Rabadi (‘24)

Nicole Rabadi (‘24) with her freshman study cohort at Webb

This year has been unusual for all Webb students, considering their entire 2020-2021 school year has been on Zoom. Freshmen, specifically, have had a difficult time as coming into the first year of high school can be fearsome enough as it is. Having to complete their first year of high school online with little to no real interaction with their classmates has put Freshmen in a different position than the rest of the Webb community.  

The biggest concern among the new Webbies is social interaction. Webb hosts many online community events to try and get not only freshmen, but also the entire community to interact with each other. It is rare that all students join these Zoom events, as it is often not appealing to log onto another Zoom meeting after a full week of online classes. 

FaceTime and social media have been most prominent way that Webbies reach out to one another and stay connected. 

“It was really hard at first but eventually I got used to it [not being able to socialize in person] and made many of my friends texting and Facetiming,” Pricilla Centeno (‘24) said. It is also really nice now being able to see them on campus [for in person study groups and athletics].”  

Social interaction has not been the only difficult part; time management and motivation serve as additional challenges. Everyone understands how staring at a dozen muted screens with blank faces can be unmotivating and intimidating. 

“Zoom kills your confidence because if you say one wrong thing you have to deal with the awkward silence of muted people that follows,” Stratton Rebish (‘24) said. “My time management skills have also gotten worse too due to lack of motivation to do anything productive.” 

For freshmen day students and local boarders, study cohorts have been extremely helpful when it comes to socializing. Unfortunately, the study groups are not accessible to all students, including international students and non-local boarders. This inability to join the study cohorts has caused many to feel isolated from the community because they are not getting the same interaction as other students 

On the other hand, those attending the cohorts get the opportunity to see their friends in person and meet new people. Study cohorts have also eased nerves, as they allow freshmen to acquaint themselves with the campus that they hope to be on for their sophomore year.  

“I am attending the cohorts and the sports activities offered on campus and it is amazing opportunity to socialize with my peers,” Nicole Rabadi (‘24) said. “It is a great way for me to meet my peers in person and finally be able to engage in activities with them.” 

Not only have cohorts aided with social aspects of freshmen lives, but it has also improved their motivation and focus.  

“It has been really good for me to get out of the house because I can focus on my classes,” Priscilla said. “I live in a small house with a family of six, so I usually have to join a Zoom with one of my sisters in Zoom class next to me.” 

Webb has been using all of their resources to try and make the transition for freshmen into their new community as smooth as possible, whether it is utilizing study cohorts, online community events, or afternoon activities. Although freshmen might be nervous for their upcoming sophomore year, they are excited to continue their journey here at Webb and finally get to know the campus and community. The class of 2024’s great attitude about being on Zoom and determination to make the most of their experience should inspire the whole community.