During a tumultuous fall, Deerfield Academy welcomed over a hundred new students to its campus. Each has had varying experiences with the new schedule, quarantining, and adjusting to the school during such a strange time.
Lucy Guo ’23, a new sophomore this year, said that two hour long classes can become tiring. “It’s kind of hard, because I have two language classes,” she explained. “It’s a lot of heavy reading.”
Rufus Mahoney ’24, on the other hand, enjoys the two class block system. “I think it makes me work and learn better, and it balances out with having to rush through a yearlong course in just a term,” he said. A similar sentiment was voiced by Heidi Nam’23, a new sophomore. “We can go more in depth,” she said. “I’m satisfied with it as a whole.”
Despite different experiences with the new schedule, most students have enjoyed having free time during X-block. Mahoney said, “It’s good having a time in the middle of the day after lunch to decompress and be with friends and occasionally get work done.” Nam agreed, saying, “I like the X-block because it definitely gives me a lot of free time. And I can even sleep when I’m super, super tired.”
Quarantining was a new experience for all Deerfield students, but was especially difficult to adjust to during the first few days on campus for new students.
Nam explained that quarantine prevented her from fully exploring Deerfield. “It was definitely frustrating, because at first I couldn’t get a full walk of the school,” she said. “It’s been doable so far, but I’m not looking forward to coming back in the winter and having meals in the dorms.” Guo agreed. “Quarantine was not the best,” she said. “It was really secluded, but it’s inevitable—you have to do it.”
Coming into Deerfield, students had different expectations regarding school life and co-curriculars. “I came to Deerfield over the summer, so I had an idea of what a normal school year would be like,” Guo said. “I expected a little bit more freedom, like more interactions between halls.” For Nam, her experience falls pretty close to what she had expected. “Even with limited contact and all, I’m finally meeting the people I’ve just contacted through instagram, which is exciting,” she said. “And just being on campus is really gratifying.”
This year, proctors have also been working very hard to help their proctees assimilate into the Deerfield community. Angela Osei-Ampadu’21, a proctor on Johnson 1, helps her proctees better adjust by encouraging them to “branch out and meet new people.”
“I also try to introduce my senior friends to my 9th graders so the 9th graders feel like they have other people they can look up to and say hi to when I’m not around,” she added.
Many of the 9th graders and new sophomores are looking forward to interacting with more members of the community. Guo said, “I’m really looking forward to dances and more social events.” Mahoney agreed, saying, “I’m looking forward to any social gathering of almost any kind. I don’t even know what that list includes, but I want to meet people.”