BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The first day of freshman year is one where emotions are running high from nervousness, excitement or, more often than not, a mix of the two. However, the transition from middle school to high school had a few extra obstacles this year.

One of the biggest worries for many freshmen was navigating the halls of Governor Livingston during their first in-person day since March. All students had to follow one-way routes around the building, which became more confusing for freshmen who didn’t know in which hallways their classrooms were located.

Isabella DaSilva said, “My biggest concern was getting to class late because of the arrows, or not knowing how to get to a class.” 

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With similar sentiment, Katie Cacicedo said, “ I was ten minutes late to my first class because I kept accidentally passing it and having to do a lap around the whole school which was very confusing.” 

 Adjusting to high school came with the extra task of figuring out remote and hybrid learning. Cacicedo said, “Half the class was online while we were in person, so it was hard to communicate with them.” 

The remote learning portion of their introductory days to the school came with its own challenges as well. About being home, DaSilva said, “I felt like I was in the shadows, since the teachers were mainly teaching in-person.” 

However, she did find a positive aspect to remote learning. She was able to talk with her fellow students through breakout rooms.

Cacicedo identified some problems with having to log onto Zoom for school. She said, “There are almost always WiFi, audio, or other tech issues that make things a lot harder.” 

However, she also was able to see a bright side to this. “We can be in the comfort of our own homes and we can sleep in for an extra hour or so.”

Despite the year being out of the ordinary, DaSilva is finding things to look forward to.

She said,“I am most excited this year for seeing how I can improve academically and productively.” She advises next year’s freshmen to be prepared for more work and accountability in high school. 

Cacicedo is also enthusiastic about her high school experience.“I am most excited to meet new people this year and kind of find out how everything works at school.” As for the next four years, she is looking forward to making fun memories with her friends in person. Her advice to next year’s freshmen? “Have a map of the school.” 

As was often heard following the shutdown in March:“we are not alone”. All students are  navigating through the hybrid-learning environment together.