Keeping Up With the Class of 2021


Photos provided by Karen Xu and Mika Dang

Class of 2021 enjoy in-person classes and activities in college.

Hazel Nguyen, Staff Writer

In 2021, school was completely virtual. It was an odd experience for all grade levels, especially the seniors, who experienced their last year of high school online. Now, they are freshmen…in college! 

“If I had to sum up the college experience, I’d say it’s intense,” said Karen Xu, a freshman at Duke University. “Academically, it’s hard. Socially, I’ve never connected with people as deeply as I have here, and I have so many really meaningful relationships. I’ve had so much fun and tried new things. I love every moment here.” 

College is an entirely different experience from high school; there is more independence and exposure to different learning environments. Yet for seniors, this change may seem like an entirely new universe, going from online high school to in-person college. In fact, their last “normal” (pre-COVID) year of high school was during their junior year. So, it is expected for seniors to be overwhelmed, even stressed, about this next step of their lives. 

“Senior year was entirely online for me, [so] transitioning to finding motivation to physically attend classes and do work was an absolute pain,” said Mika Dang, a freshman at George Mason University. “[However] I don’t think I’ve ever connected with a group of people [in college] so quickly and so deeply in a while, and I’m not sure where I would be without them,” 

Senior year of high school is usually the time where one’s academic performance struggles. For seniors online, it can be challenging to find the motivation to maintain their grades and adapt to the virtual learning environment. Then, they are introduced to college, already a big transition, but an even bigger change for seniors during this abnormal year. 

On the bright side, seniors are handling their situation pretty well Both Xu and Dang agree that the challenge of college is worth it. They are making precious friends and memories, all while furthering their education. Xu and Dang also mention how their old classmates have been enjoying college life as well.

Most importantly, they are happy, “happiest I’ve ever been,” said Xu. It is currently finals season for these students, and as they continue to achieve brilliance beyond Freedom High School, great things are in store for their bright futures!