By: Brendan McDonnell
Being a student at our school presents challenges that many have never had to face before. Naturally, OHS carries with it many of the same expectations and formalities that a conventional private school would have, but with an extra layer of complication. In surviving our Online High School, everyone involved must make an extra effort to establish community. It is a sense of community that drives this school and enables everyone to be successful.
Being a part of this community can be so rewarding. There are so many unique, smart, intriguing people to get to know, faculty and students alike. But, like most things, getting to know people here requires effort. Getting involved at the OHS is made easier and easier by the tireless work of our Director of Student Life, Ms. Aubrey. Meetups all over the world are just one way to get to know other students; there also are opportunities that don’t require hosting or travelling to events. Outside of class and homeroom, students can start or join clubs. Definitely check out the OHS clubs website to start thinking about clubs you may want to join before they present at the upcoming Club Fair. New students can also run for most Student Government positions. Even if you’re not elected, campaigning is an effective way to reach out to everyone in your class and start forming relationships with them.
While getting to know your fellow classmates is important outside of class, starting OHS classes themselves can also be intimidating. The relationship at our school between student and teacher can be distant at first, and it is up to you, the student, to decide what relationship you would like to have with your teacher. Reaching out to your teachers will make your experience at the OHS more meaningful in the end. Going to office hours will allow your instructors to get to know you and what you struggle with and how you learn best; they are here to help encourage you to be the best student you can be. Go to at least two of your instructors’ office hours this month, even if you don’t have particular questions.
Surviving the OHS as a new student is about being a friendly, charismatic addition to our community both towards your fellow students and also with your teachers. Think about going to Stanford Online High School as a journey. As Robert Louis Stevenson put it, “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” The challenge of being a new student here is realizing how to become a local.