Emissaries continue their duties despite virtual learning


Gracie Rowland

Emissaries continue to guide the juniors and their transition to MSMS.

Jessica Yan, Staff Writer

Whether MSMS students are stuck learning from home or at school, they can agree the virtual format is completely different from the campus experience, especially for juniors. Ever since the administration announced students will be switching to online learning for the first quarter, uncertainty has loomed over students. With the end of the first quarter quickly nearing, juniors have made the best of virtual learning thanks to their peers and Emissaries. 

Emissaries, a group of seniors, are the leaders of MSMS who recruit prospective students and help incoming juniors adapt to the school’s learning environment. 

“To me, I think that the role of an Emissary is to represent the school and to help juniors get adjusted to life at MSMS,” emissary Michael Lu said.

Emissaries are crucially important for incoming juniors. Due to the rigorous workload accompanying the first nine weeks, students often struggle to balance school and life. This struggle has become even more distinct in a virtual format, which is why Emissaries are essential to MSMS. 

With the online format in such an unprecedented time, virtual learning has certainly brought about many obstacles, like connections with other peers.

“I think the biggest limitation is reaching out for help or giving help because no one really wants to give unsolicited advice, but whenever you don’t know someone that well it’s really hard to reach out for help,” Nguyen said. “An example is a junior reaching out to a senior about a class, but it could also go the other way around. Also, I’ve heard a lot of people say, and I guess it’s common sense, but it’s really hard to balance home life and work life.”

In addition to the limited ability to contact peers, virtual learning has prevented students from experiencing the full extent of enrichment MSMS classes are known for.

“To me, the main limitation of virtual learning is the lack of personal teaching,” Lu said.  “Students simply lose interest much more quickly from staring at a computer screen for hours.”

To overcome these limitations, Emissaries are gathering various ideas to stay in touch with juniors. Some have arranged movie nights for their Emissary groups while others are scheduling online meetings with juniors. Their main role, to support juniors, has not dwindled.

“As an Emissary, I reach out to my Emissary group, but I also let other juniors know in class that if they ever have trouble, they can definitely reach out to me or email me. I also tried to respond to them really quickly in case help with assignments are time-sensitive,” Nguyen said. 

Like Nguyen, Lu also seeks to maintain connections with his group, even during busy weeks.

“I like to keep close contact with my juniors to make sure they’re doing okay and are getting through their workload. I try my best to help them get adjusted to MSMS’s rigor because it can get stressful and difficult,” Lu said.

With less than three weeks left, juniors are almost finished with their first quarter of virtual MSMS. As a final word of advice from Emissaries, time management is the key to getting the most out of MSMS coursework as noted by both Lu and Nguyen.

“I think the best way to survive the MSMS work environment is to work during work hours so if you finish a class early, or if you finish lunch early, you should immediately start on an assignment and it will really cut down your workload,” Nguyen said. “I would also say aim to always be productive and that doesn’t always have to be academically. You can stimulate your mind through reading, doing a puzzle, or doing a passion project, but if you’re not doing those things, don’t feel bad.”

“My biggest advice would be to encourage juniors to optimize their efficiency by finding a quiet place, collaborating with other students over a call, and removing distractions like TikTok,” Lu said.

While the MSMS community dynamic has changed, the role of Emissaries has remained constant. Their main job, whether on or off-campus, is to make juniors feel welcome.  With the possibility of returning to campus in the next few weeks, juniors will experience another adjustment, but already many have relied on their Emissaries to ease the transition to MSMS.  

“Even with online school bringing unforeseen challenges to both juniors and seniors, my emissary has done a great job to help me navigate through schoolwork and extracurriculars. He has a very busy schedule, yet he still takes time out of his day to answer questions I have, and I appreciate it a great deal,” junior Nicholas Djedjos said.