A Freshman’s Experience: Virtual vs. Hybrid


Andrew Fonticoba, Staff Writer

Starting high school can be a daunting task. A freshman would normally do his best to navigate the halls, make new friends, and not get the classic JUG. While some of that remains true, especially the JUG part, hybrid and virtual learning create a huge change when it comes to starting high school. Instead of navigating the halls, the new batch of freshmen have to navigate Zoom. For some, this change makes them feel right at home, while others would much rather prefer being in person.

To see how people felt about the change, a poll was conducted. It asked about whether people preferred hybrid or virtual learning, as well as if people’s grades changed. Most said that they preferred hybrid learning, and most of the people that responded preferring virtual learning were in already part of the Spirit cohort. It seems that most people in the respective hybrid cohorts enjoy it because of their experiences. When Nicolas Bambrick Santoyo, a freshman in the Glory cohort, was asked his opinion on virtual learning, he said, “I personally think that it is necessary so that COVID does not spread, especially since school is an indoor place with hundreds of kids. But, I also believe that nothing can replace the person-to-person interactions between your teachers and friends, and just walking down the hallways, stuff like that.”

Nicolai Mendoza, another freshman in the Glory cohort, agreed with him, saying, “It’s those little moments that really matter. The lunch breaks we would’ve had with everybody, the talks in the hallways, all those little things that just add up over time.” People were also asked to give their opinions of virtual learning in the poll. Most mentioned how nothing paralleled the experiences of hybrid learning, and I agree. Personally, I think that nothing can compare to being on campus, and spending time with friends, and in-person class.

But that also begs the question, what impacts does virtual learning have? In the poll, when asked if their grades changed, half of the answers said that their grades didn’t change. Surprisingly, more people said their grades changed for the better! When Nicolai Mendoza was asked of the benefits of virtual learning, he answered that he had way more sleep. More sleep is conducive to a better learning environment, which could explain why some people found an increase in grades. However, Nicolas Bambrick-Santoyo found a slight decrease in grades. When asked if he could attribute it to any one things, he replied, “I believe that the major assessments haven’t changed, and I’ve done pretty similar, but because it’s so much easier to zone out; I think I’ve forgotten a few more assignments then when I was in person, so that has caused my grades to decrease slightly.” Overall, based on personal experience and what others think, it seems that the problem with virtual learning is how much easier it is to stop paying attention.

When comparing virtual and hybrid learning, hybrid learning is preferred by the masses, and has more overall benefits than virtual learning does. In my personal opinion, virtual learning does have its benefits, but hybrid learning gives people more of a chance to have the authentic St. Peter’s Prep experience. Hopefully, there can be a time in the future where we can be on campus all the time, but for now, we’ll have to wait.