Sophomores around campus always ask for help, but why would they need help, if the previous tour had actually helped them? The truth is that it didn’t. The Winnetka tour that was supposed to be beneficial towards incoming sophomores was quite the opposite.
The more and more anyone roams a new place, the more they get to know it. For sure by the end of senior year we will know it like the back of our hand. For now, our hybrid model doesn’t suffice with the physical knowledge of the school we actually need.
Of course the tour guide couldn’t go from everyone’s schedule showing where their rooms are class to class, but now students are unable to navigate such a large space. The tour is helpful for large spaces and greater main congregation spaces; the little spaces and the lesser known areas, however, are what we really need to see.
One sophomore expressed her frustration. “I thought they tried their best to be leaders during a really stressful time for students, but that may have led to over confidence in their system which led to school getting shut down again. My tour guide was pretending like everything was normal, which was honestly just frustrating to listen to and I ended up having no idea where to go when I went into school during hybrid learning.” It is very difficult to learn your way around a new place when not being able to go around the area and get to know it before.
The two days total that some students spent at school didn’t pay off, because it doesn’t look like we are going back anytime soon. Things haven’t been normal for months now, and coming up on the new year, it seems like it’s been a lifetime. Having been hybrid for many weeks now into the new school year, many students are struggling to come back and find their way around the campus. For some that might not have the best sense of direction, the tour might have been helpful. However, students who are still clueless about where to go once we do go back are curious if they will even remember where to go. The more common areas are the places that we need more knowledge of, and without it, we are simply just stuck.
Students across the school are faced with wondering if they really feel like a part of the school and if they truly belong there. Students might feel as if maybe they have been a part of the district for so long, but they cannot call New Trier their school.
The change from Northfield to Winnetka is a big change, and once someone gets used to something for so long, changing is hard. We knew exactly where our classes were and every shortcut to get to each different building. When we become juniors and seniors, we may not feel we know our way around.
Another sophomore explained, “Personally, after the tour I felt more flustered and worried about the size of the school, and not finding my way around it.” With a new place to get to know, sophomores might not truly feel welcome at school once they go back. With coronavirus, who knows when we will be in person next, and sophomores are worried about feeling unsafe and unwelcome at a school they want to call their own.
At the Northfield campus, students find their way around by using lettered buildings and other indicators like the library to help them find their way. At Winnetka, those indicators, like stairwells, are lacking because students have not spent time there.
With some teachers teaching from home and others from school, the only true glimpse we get of the school is a whiteboard or, if we’re lucky, a hallway. The standard classroom at New Trier is a place where students congregate, learn, and even make new friendships. Now, we are faced with trying to do that while sitting in our beds and being miserable in breakout rooms. We are so used to eyeing our friends to work together as soon as the teacher says, “You are allowed to choose partners for this one,” but how do we do that while our friends’ screens are off?
2020 has presented unique hardships to teenagers. The school could be more cognizant of sophomores learning their way around, when we finally return. Not all students know their way around, and can call New Trier “their school.” Maybe they are new to the neighborhood, or even the whole state. The Winnetka Campus is so big, they need 100+ tours, within the one tour.
New Trier’s Winnetka campus is like an airport in a city you have never been before. Sophomore year on the North Shore is like entering a new terminal on a connecting flight to graduation.
The campus tour might be a one time helpful tool, but in the long run, students will need more navigation, and more simple directions