Record numbers of ‘new’ students learn to navigate campus for first time


Zharia Gelin

Students walk towards 1300’s building heading to class.

Schools are now reopened and running at full capacity again after a school year completely online due to COVID-19. Students find themselves navigating through the school after being away from the campus last year. The first few weeks were hectic, but things are back to normal, and students are able to navigate the school more easily. After the first week concluded a handful of students and teachers were able to provide insight into their experiences and thoughts.  

“It was very confusing; Western [felt] like an asylum, but I met some new people and saw people I haven’t seen in a long while,” sophomore Samantha Decapua said. 

Sophomores who remained virtual last year reported that it was difficult finding their classes given how unfamiliar they were with the school. There are hundreds of sophomores and freshmen who do not know the layout of the school, causing the hallways to be more crowded in the early weeks. 

“It sucked, I couldn’t find any classes,” sophomore Isabella Muñoz said.  

Teachers found themselves giving directions the first week as expected but to a larger number of students who were more anxious than usual. 

“A student in a predicament on the first day of school asked me for directions during my planning, and I was able to walk that student to the location, which I think helped calm the student’s anxiety,” English teacher Laura Arguello said. 

Social studies teacher David Ghenassia said students have a tough time remembering the parts of the main building. Arguello said learning the difference between the 1100, 1300, and 1400 buildings is also a challenge for most students on the first few days. 

“It depends on how hectic the hallways get and what building you’re at. That and going up the stairs after lunch and during periods, but it’s pretty easy to find them just getting there on time is a different story,” said freshman Len-an Swan. 

Freshman Alietta Abraahf said the first week of school was okay even though the first two days she got lost. On the third day she was almost there, but she still had to look at her schedule. Around the second week Abraahf was okay and got the hang of it. 

“It’s been pretty easy, I don’t get lost anymore,” Abraahf adds. 

Junior Jenise Salazar mentioned it was harder coming back to school because she got so used to being behind the camera and she used to fall asleep. Now that isn’t possible because the teachers wake you up. However, she has gotten used to the school returning from a year online. 

“It’s easier; I know my way around more,” Salazar said. 

 Now that the first month of school has ended, students are able to find their classes and navigate around the school easily. As students find their way and classrooms are filled, the energy feels different to teachers as well.   

“I really LOVE having [students] all back on campus. I missed having students in my room sharing the energy of learning and laughing together,” Ghenassia said.