Semester System Gets Mixed Reviews
By RAFIA ALI
There comes a time, every school year in Midwood, where students have to say goodbye to their old friends, teachers, and classmates. Whether you like it or not, there’s just no avoiding it.
Midwood is a school that runs on a two-semester basis. The first semester runs from September through January, while the second one runs from February until the end of the school year. This change in semester impacts many students and teachers in Midwood, positively and negatively. Many also wonder why this system even exists. Is there a reason for this change?
School staff member, Mr. Albert Peterson said, “There honestly is no reason behind the semester change system. It is what it is.”
Whatever the case may be, some students seem to like the semester change system and believe that it should remain in place.
Anum Jabeen ‘20 said that she always thought that this system was put into place because “this is what college is like, so it’s good for students to experience it beforehand.”
Isha Arshid “20 said, “The semester change system is very beneficial to us students in the long term. Time builds dependency and routine which isn’t necessarily good in school. With every new semester comes new classes, new teaching styles, and new friends.”
Arshid also said that she believes Midwood should continue this system because it allows students to have a “fresh start at least twice a school year which is mentally beneficial.”
Jacqueline Phung ‘20 said, “I like the semester change system because it's refreshing as a student since new schedules can bring new teachers and friends. You don’t get bored of the same thing the whole year and if you don’t like a teacher the first semester, you have a chance to have a new one the next semester.”
Menahil Shahid ‘20 said, “Semester changes allow me to adapt to different classroom environments that give me a sense of confidence. It also helps me progress as a person socially because I can make more friends, experience new teaching styles, and differentiate between what is useful for me and what isn’t.”
Diyora Mullaeva ‘20 explained how she had a good experience with the semester change during the spring of her freshman year.
“My schedule change for the spring semester was much better because I was able to receive better teachers overall for almost all my subjects who unintentionally encouraged me to do better in school and that’s when I started to see better results in my academic performance,” said Mullaeva.
Junior President Jonathan Li ‘20 said, “One memorable experience would be in my freshman year when I had a math teacher that I didn’t really vibe with, and whose teaching style didn’t fit mine. After the semester change, I was so lucky to get Ms. Burch and she taught in a way that I understood while making the class interesting. Never have I ever thought about missing her class. Also, I lucked out twice because I have her currently for precalculus, and I hope I get her next semester again. She makes math tolerable!”
Not only can a semester change be beneficial academically, but also socially.
Polina Yakubova ‘19 said, “Personally, I met my closest friends during semester two, rather than semester one.”
Fatima Wong ‘20 said, “You see some familiar faces, but it’s always nice to see new ones. Who knows, you can end up making tons of new friends.”
Many students aren’t that bothered by the new schedules because their AP classes remain the same class and period. So, there will be a lot of familiar faces for those enrolled in APs.
“The impact of Midwood’s semester change has lessened due to a rigid schedule resulting from AP classes,” said Mullaeva.
However, there are a lot of students who find the semester changes quite challenging.
“Schedule changes can be very intimidating because students aren’t aware of the brand new environment that might be difficult to adapt to,” said Mullaeva. “Personally, I am worried about whether my friends and I will have the same classes.”
Change can be pretty difficult for some of us, especially when it comes to leaving our best friends.
Rachel Chea ‘20 explained how she isn’t necessarily bothered by the semesters changing, but is saddened about leaving her close friends and all the good times they had.
“I miss my friends from the previous semester, otherwise I don’t care about this system. I just wish the people in the classes didn’t change,” said Chea.
Mr. Peterson also said that how heavily a semester change impacts a student, depends on the student itself.
“Semester changes can be good or bad,” said Mr. Peterson. “Some students do well with change and others just don’t click with their new teachers. Personally, I believe that this semester change system offers students with a variety of new perspectives, in terms of learning, all thanks to the change in teachers and peers. Students most likely learn better while being exposed to a new style of teaching.”
Not only students, but the teachers at Midwood are also impacted by the semester changes. They also receive new schedules and new guidelines to follow.
Chemistry teacher, Mr. Vincent Adams said, “Different lesson plans mean a different curriculum. I don’t find it hard to switch between semesters, because I know what’s expected for each one. Chem one is different from chem two. All chemistry teachers know that.”
Mr. Adams also said that it’s “sad to lose some students that you are used to, especially the well behaved ones. However, it’s also nice to meet new students and interact with them.”
With the small number of inconveniences, this system may cause, overall, many students and staff end up getting used to it over time.
Junior President Li explained how he thinks students are mostly fine with the semesters changing, but he thinks a “better system would be one where you pick your teacher and schedule on a first come first serve basis instead of having it randomized and then equalized.”