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Zooming: An Introvert’s Perspective on Virtual HW

By Emily ’25

When I first learned we were transferring to online school, I was nervous. The prospect of learning online through Zoom definitely didn’t appeal to me, for it was a new way of attending school that no one had really experienced before. On top of that, I am not a particularly talkative person and I would label myself as an introvert, so the thought of talking through Zoom with everyone watching me kind of freaked me out. Now, learning through Zoom is the new normal, and it has been better than I expected.

Through the many months of attending class by Zoom, I realized that learning online isn’t all that different from school in person.  Harvard-Westlake students still get roughly the same amount of homework and work as in regular school, so students here still learn all that they need in their classes.  There are even some upsides for introverts such as myself. When my teachers divide the class into smaller groups in breakout rooms, I find that sharing and contributing my ideas and thoughts are a lot easier than with the whole class. Sometimes it might be a little bit too quiet, but I have learned that if you just jump right into a discussion, people start to open up. Plus, when I am working independently, instead of a classroom filled with classmates, it’s just me in a breakout room and it’s nice and quiet. The best part is that I can just click a button on Zoom and ask for help without anyone hearing what I am saying, just a private one on one conversation with one of my teachers. In actual school, I didn’t get the chance to speak with my teacher one on one very often, so Zoom has helped me get to know my teachers better than I would have in person.  If I have a problem or a question, my teacher is just an email away and a Zoom meeting away.  I get to personally talk to my teachers more often, which makes it easier for me to feel more comfortable in their classes. Zoom can sometimes make me feel overwhelmed and on the spot at times, but I don’t let it stop me from participating at least as much as I normally do. I am someone who is not as comfortable on Zoom, so I try to push myself and find ways to actively contribute to the discussions. Hopefully this habit of mine will continue when we return to school on campus.  I also appreciate that teachers are having students provide more written responses. I find that communicating through writing, like polls or chatting answers through Zoom, is something that I prefer more than verbal communication. Learning on Zoom has allowed me to fully think through my answers and respond through writing.

Although learning through Zoom has enabled me to get to know my teachers better and has other upsides, I still hope that we will all be able to get to campus soon, so future and current students can be together as a community. Right now the new students attending Harvard-Westlake this year are missing out on opportunities to meet new people in-person. The school has done a lot to help the new students feel a part of the community but I imagine it isn’t quite the same. As for returning students, I think it’s safe to say, we all miss seeing our friends almost every day.  But in the meantime, I, and I hope other students, feel lucky to be at Harvard-Westlake where our schooling has not been fully disrupted by the pandemic.

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Tags: Last modified: December 14, 2020