By Lily Angel
Two words that we heard so often last year that they should appear on Spotify’s Top 10 charts along with Dua Lipa were “distance learning.” The dreaded online school challenged our educational system across the nation. However, those who were already enrolled in the iGranada program had a different experience than most of the country.
I entered iGranada as a freshman, the same year that the pandemic would eventually start. So I already did not have the typical high school experience.
The iGranada program is a purely online educational system that gives the option for a flexible schedule where students are evaluated on the percent completed in each class. For instance, you gain percentages by completing quizzes and assignments.
For the most part, iGranada worked like a typical high school experience, but with some added benefits. You attend your classes in person, going to each classroom in period order. The only difference was, all of your teachers would teach you online, from all over the country. If you needed assistance, you could email them for help, but for faster assistance there are helpful advisors in each classroom. They all specialize in certain subjects, fostering your understanding of the material in each subject.
Unfortunately, not even iGranada could be immune from the Coronavirus pandemic. When the Safer at Home Orders were enacted, iGranada wasn’t ready for distance learning. Instead, the students of iGranada found basic interaction with our peers had been cut off. We didn’t have Zoom or Google Meets for our classes and our school workload remained the same.
The 2020-2021 school year found that conditions were about the same, but we now had Google Meets and could enter to ask questions. This form of interaction helped, but it did not leave much room for socializing with other students as we came and went as we pleased.
Seeing as this change was difficult, many iGranada students like myself yearned for a different experience and when the opportunity for a place at Main Campus I took it.
When I first arrived at the Main Campus this year, I was completely lost as I had little to no interaction with the campus while an iGranada student. The school work was different from what I was used to, and it took me a while to adjust.
“The workload at Granada is different because iGranada allows for a more flexible schedule,” junior Christopher Pascual said.
I would say that the amount of work is relatively the same, but my learning style had to adjust quickly because I had become so accustomed to just reading the material and taking quizzes. Taking notes during a lecture and doing homework with a deadline were certainly something I had not done since 8th grade.
“ I enjoyed my time at iGranada greatly as there are no enforced deadlines except the benchmarks where everything has to be finished,” junior Beaux Cable said.
The experience of transitioning from iGranada to Granada varies, however.
“The only difference between then and now is that I am no longer allowed to leave school if I just want to relax at home. Academically, during online school, everything was mapped out from the beginning. But at the main campus, I don’t necessarily see what I am learning ahead of time and the pace I am learning the material,” Cable said.
iGranada also has a very different atmosphere than Main Campus Granada. While iGranada remained online, the Main Campus resumed in person.
“The main reason why I left iGranada was that I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to socialize with people. Since I am extroverted, it was an unfortunate situation to be in,” Pascual said.
Switching from iGranada to the Main Campus was a good change in both scenery and learning. The switch allowed my peers and I to learn which teaching styles and environments work best for us. Leaving iGranada provided more opportunities for us to socialize and experience different educational perspectives.
“I joined the IB program, which I was very lucky to be selected into. I was fortunate in that I was allowed to move to the Main Campus. People from iGranada aren’t actually allowed to transfer directly into IB. I feel it is unfair that there is that distinction between iGranada and IB because, in reality, it has about the same rigor,” Cable said.
Coming from iGranada that was pre-pandemic into a pandemic one, then going to the Main Campus was an experience that showed that with change there is opportunity.