Growing Roots with Second Semester New Students

Written by: Inez

Edited by: Chris

Visual by: Tatiana

With all the turmoil of the last two years amidst the pandemic, a fresh start feels necessary.

As the year of 2022 opens, ISM sees countless opportunities for new beginnings. These new beginnings serve as chances for us to find, explore, and rediscover ourselves. Whether that is through senior college acceptances or freshmen New Year’s resolutions, the new semester blossoms with the promise of “fresh starts” for us all; and this prospect holds especially true in the case of second semester new students. It has always seemed unconventional to begin halfway through the school year, yet these student’s consistently make the most of their time, despite the debatable disadvantages of beginning a semester late. This challenge of joining the ISM community when most students are knee deep in classes and extracurriculars is made no easier with the return to distance learning due to Omicron.

Without a doubt, ISM’s rigorous curriculum fosters the growth of well rounded and cultured students. But the reach of distance learning can only do so much to match the effectiveness of an on campus learning experience. Bamboo Telegraph interviewed Juan, a new sophomore, who expressed his enthusiasm for joining the Bearcat community. Having this ‘new beginning’ in this new place truly is a unique experience,” he says, “I’m meeting all kinds of new people in a new environment, despite my old school being only 50 steps away.” Juan ultimately summarized his sentiments by stating how “I’m very happy to be here, and I can’t wait to get to hybrid learning on campus, hopefully very soon!” 

While academics is one aspect of being a part of ISM, the community is a larger, more important one. With the school’s welcoming student ambassadors and its constantly diversifying student body, ISM is no stranger to making new students feel easily welcomed. Junior Chelsea, who also moved to ISM this semester, agrees, describing her move to ISM as “refreshing to say the least.” She continues to express excitement for her new opportunity “to meet amazing people from around the world as well as learn about different and new cultures!” The seamless social transition of new students to ISM reassures us that as a community, online or off, the Bearcat spirit will persevere.

Despite the embracing community, online learning inevitably poses difficulties for these new students. This is compounded by the fact that their move to ISM comes with them learning from teachers they have never met, in classrooms they have never been to. As Chelsea states, “since it was online it was very hard for me to adjust compared to pre-pandemic.” 

Understandably, learning under the constraints of zoom is no ideal start to a “new beginning” at ISM. But these challenges come rewarded, as learning under these circumstances ultimately develops a student’s resilience in the face of difficulty. As Chelsea further explains, “it really improved my communicative skills as I was able to push myself”.

The countless new beginnings that ISM houses have continued to allow students new and old to explore themselves through the social, academic, and cultural grounds of the school. It is with these opportunities that we hope to soon find, explore, and rediscover ourselves on the real grounds of ISM soon.