Freshman Year

What It Feels Like Going Into High School

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Taylor Tames

A group of Freshman boys hang out at the top of the stairs during lunch.

Alice Cai, Editor

The car inches up the line in the parking lot, the August sun beaming in through the window and pressing hot against Sara’s skin. The heat, on top of the throbbing of thoughts in her head, worsens the wait. “Where is my first class? Oh no, I forgot which phase it’s in. What if I get lost? Who will be in my classes? Crap, I didn’t put on perfume today. Do I smell bad? What if my teacher doesn’t like me? Where will I sit at lunch? I don’t want to be alone This is my first year of high school I need to make friends, and get a fresh start–” Her mind is a tangle of racing thoughts as she gazes out the window at the massive dark grey stretch of building. The windows gleam in the morning light, like steel eyes. The elegant, crisp infrastructure of the school provides sharp contrast with the dull brick building of the junior high and elementary schools she had been used to.

A surge of emotion rises inside of her, something between elation and trepidation.

She shifts in the leather seat, adjusting the bracelet around her wrist. Her mother sees her fidgeting. “You nervous, sweetie? Don’t be. You will be just fine.”

Sara notices that her her hand is shaking slightly. She inhales a deep breath and tries to shake off her skittishness. Glancing at her reflection in the car mirror, she notices the shadow of a blemish on her chin. Her heart is suddenly in her throat, pounding. Oh no, oh no, oh no… She fumbles for her concealer, but the car in front of them moves forward, and Sara finds herself facing the entrance of the doorway.

The social-anxiety butterflies in her stomach suddenly awaken from their summer slumber, and as if shot with a hundred gallons of adrenaline, start to flutter around like maniacs within her stomach. She feels a bead of cold sweat trickling from her hair, down her temple, the side of her jaw, her neck, and into the collar of her blouse as she gazes out toward the trial of people moving into the building.

Sara nods, opens the car door, and steps out, walking down toward the front door of her new home.

Going into high school, most freshmen are faced with an overwhelming mix of emotions that are sometimes hard to understand. Eagerness and dread are probably the most common two, and the line between them is not always clear. Anticipation is a double edged sword, and there is inevitably a dabble of both sweet and bitter flavor in the freshman experience. The reason behind the anticipation felt at the beginning of freshman year is different for everyone. Some might feel excited for the best four years of their lives: excited to hang out, to party, to do wild things. Some might feel nervous about keeping up a good GPA and building a resume for college. When it comes to the purpose of high school, students views vary widely.

“High school is a social outlet and a place for learning,” freshman Ariana Saitta said.

High school provides opportunities for meeting people, building relationships, and also growing as a person.

“I believe that high school is a place to further your academic knowledge, and to learn how to interact with others and get a feel for how to be a productive person in society,” freshman Abby Chang said.

High school teaches students both academic and social skills and prepares students for their integration into the adult society.

“High school is big and wild but at the same time fun!” freshman Mary Margaret said.

The idea of high school, with all its splendors and adversities, has been made prominent by books, movies, and other mainstream media. Most have some sort of expectation in coming into high school, whether that is “this is gonna be the best time of my life!”, or “ugh, can’t wait until I graduate”. Although the student body holds a variety of opinions about school, there is no doubt freshman year is a time of hopes and fears.

One of the common fears expressed by students is the increase in responsibility. Because high school is a transition between childhood and adulthood, students are held more responsible for themselves and their lives than ever before.

“In high school, you’re sort of out on your own, which makes me a little nervous,” Saitta said. Although there are teachers and counselors who provide guidance, more proactivity is expected from students, requiring them to be in charge of all aspects of their lives.

“I am most concerned about grades, because I want to keep a 4.0 GPA throughout high school so that I can get into a good college,” freshman Joshua Kueh said.

The workload in high school, especially for the students taking pre-AP and AP classes, is heavy. That, combined with all the other aspects of school life, can result in high levels of stress. However, high school also is a source of an awaiting happiness, as this time marks the beginning of adulthood.

“I’d say my stress level is a good 8, as someone who struggles with is chronically,” freshman Celeste Moses said. “The new environment warrants a few attacks a day but I’m hoping it’ll settle down later in the year. I’m really looking forward to not living in theory anymore. I feel like I’m always waiting on something or making “one day…” plans, and I can’t wait to just get up and do what I want to do and be who I want to be.”

These four years will be the vessel of a great journey, during which we will all lose and rediscover ourselves when it comes to identity, passions, lifestyle, and/or more. FHS harbors a diverse crowd of people with interests ranging from the arts to the sciences to physical activities. No matter which field a student chooses to pursue, they will always be able to find mentors and friends willing to teach and support them here. Moses wants to be a writer, Kueh wants to be a pilot, freshmen, Sophia Galvez wants to be a businesswoman, and these are just three people in a community of students with a countless variance of dreams and passions. However, even though there is a place for everyone, there is no need to know exactly what career path to take.

A common concern that grips students is the idea that they need to figure out their lives within the short frame of four years. During high school, they are exposed to pressures, on purpose or otherwise, that push them to make decisions about all aspects of their lives. These pressures serve their purpose, which is to prepare them for adulthood, but often times they also result in stress, anxiety, and even depression a feeling of being in a water labyrinth, trying desperately find the way out before the air runs out. Time is not running out, however, and there is no deadline for one to figure out their lives. People constantly lose and rediscover themselves: in college, in the middle ages, and even in old ages.

“I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up,” Saitta said. “I just know that I want to go to a good university.”

In our late teenage years, the time just preceding adulthood, our lives tend to grow exponentially more complex, and stress, anxiety, and depression-levels skyrocket during this period of time. All of a sudden, it can seem like the To-Do-List had a major growth spurt, and time on our hands just vanished into thin air. Struggling under the stress brought about by homework, exams, friendships, family, sports, and many other factors, it can seem like everything is just going to fast to handle.

“Because of all the work I get from pre-AP classes, it’s hard for me to balance everything in my life,” Galvez said

Feeling this way is completely normal, and it is not hard to fix.

Balance is one of the most important yet most difficult things to achieve in high school and the rest of life. Although it can seem impossible to try and balance all these various branches of life, all it takes is one step. Senior, Kari Si, said to write everything down in a planner because it will help you stay on track.

Juniors and seniors are always willing to give advice.

“Don’t be afraid to start new things! Also, be sure to check school announcements,” Si said. School announcements often contain valuable information about ongoing events and cover all the opportunities offered.

“Although you should do your work before you do other things, make sure you have fun doing it. School is a fun place. Join some clubs and get involved,” junior Andy Ritter said. If students are required to be at school and attend the classes, they might as well have fun in the process.

“Don’t procrastinate on your homework. Do you work the day you get it, and if you have a question for a teacher, don’t be afraid to ask,” senior Caroline Lazenby said.

Procrastination is a common bad habit of students not only at this school but everywhere. It can seem hard to overcome, but all it takes is some determination, discipline, and a planner.

Whether it is human conflict or existential crises, the path of high school will undoubtedly bear obstacles. But there is nothing a little strength, a little wit, and a little inspiration cannot help you get over, and there are so many positive experiences awaiting you.

High school only happens once, so take it easy, and enjoy!

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