Every high school career consists of a freshman year, although each experience is vastly different. Some students arrive prepared and ready for high school, while others scramble to adjust to the new settings.
In middle school, my teachers didn’t really prepare me for the switch from middle school to high school. In eight grade, they told me high school would be easy if I did my homework and paid attention. They failed to mention the time pressure and stress from higher performance expectations.
Two or three hours may not seem like all that much homework, but it is a significant increase over my middle school experience. I haven’t relaxed since this year started. I’m always worrying about what is due the next day or even what is due next week.
Another big part of high school is the tests. In middle school, the tests are never worth more than seventy five points. In high school, I have 175 point testes almost weekly. Even if I study hard and pay attention, I’m not guaranteed a passing grade. Even if the test is easy, the pressure of it can get in my head and I can do badly anyway, which can really bring down my grade. And now that I am in high school, my grades count for my future, so it only adds to the accumulating pressure.
When I first got to high school, I thought that it was going to be about fun and being independent and doing everything I’ve wanted to do. Now that I’m here, I have learned that the best way to spend my infrequent free time is to just relax, maybe take my dog for a walk, read a book, or take a nap.
I’ll admit, the transition hasn’t been all bad. While a lot of my classes are difficult or stressful, I am genuinely enjoying a few, like choir and history.
Aside from the academic part of school, I enjoy that everyone at Campo is an individual. In middle school, everyone was a clone of his or her friends. Everyone dressed the same, acted the same, and even played the same sports, but at Campo everyone does their own thing. Some of the freshman still cling together, but when I see the upperclassmen, I notice a lot of them hang out with different people every day.
Also, because everyone is so expressive, students aren’t as judgemental as they were in middle school. While the reason may be that the students are older and more mature, I also believe that the Campo students are open-minded. Some people play sports, some people are artistic, and some may be both. The students seem to be completely okay with that.
While in middle school, I observed that there was always a “cool” interest. The only way to be “cool” was to participate in that sport or activity. At Campo, all interests are valued, whether it’s football, choir, or math club, it doesn’t matter.
Along with all these discoveries, I have noticed that things can just turn on a dime. Whether it be grades or friendships, change can happen abruptly. This is both a blessing and a curse because a grade can go from an F to an A, or an A to an F in one test. The only way to avoid such drastic changes is to study hard and focus all your energy on upcoming assignments. But because I spend so much energy on studying, the weekends are twice as sweet because I can finally have a break.
I have learned a lot, but I am still barely into my freshman year.