From Big Fish to Big Pond: Freshmen Make Adjustments

By Kate Salvo and Sarah Carlsen 
Staff Writers

Photo by Vincenzo Digristina 
Staff Photographer

As the class of 2017 begins to encounter life in the high school, there are many mixed feelings. Some thought the high school was intimidating, while others got the hang of it quickly. Now that the year has begun, students are getting used to the larger school and the differences between being eighth graders and high school freshmen.

One of the most noticeable differences between the middle school and the high school is the length of the classes. Many freshmen say it’s beneficial. “It’s definitely better; there’s more time to get stuff done,” said Cindy Henchen . Some, however, haven’t gotten used to the change from the 40 minute classes in middle school. “It’s too long and I get bored,” said freshman Julia Kelner. “I feel like I should be done with my classes, but I have to stay in them,” said Alexandra Scibilia . Other students added that it depends on which class you’re in, some can get boring, while it’s helpful in others. “Lunches should be 80 minutes long,” added Alexandra Street.

Another noticeable difference is the size of the school, and while some freshman have become accustomed to a larger school, others struggle to find their way around. The major issue people have encountered is the staircases that connect the different hallways. Multiple freshmen said their first day was difficult, but that once you found the location of the stairs it got easier. Others didn’t have trouble with the size of the school. “The high school isn’t hard to navigate, mainly because we had tours before school started. The tours helped us get an understanding of the school overall,” said Henchen.

While the high school brings new changes, there are many things this year’s freshman miss about middle school. “The middle school was smaller and it was easier to get places without being late. In middle school, they don’t punish you if you’re not right on time,” said Willa Shiomos. Others agreed, adding that the middle school was more lenient if you forgot something at home, and it was less stressful. The three different lunch periods were also a topic students had differing opinions on. “I miss having lunch with the whole grade,” said Kelner, but Henchen likes being able to see her older friends. “I like being able to see my friends in higher grades,” said Henchen.

The freedoms and opportunities given in the high school are well appreciated among freshman. “Activity period is helpful, and the clubs are fun,” said Tommy Armenta . “High school is way better than middle school,” said Akbar Qahar. Others said that it’s nice to have your teachers available after school because you can ask them if you have any questions. “The high school offers more freedom, and you feel like more of an adult,” agreed Kristina Bell.

Most students have had no problems regarding scheduling, according to guidance counselor Diane Ennis. When students have encountered an issue, it mainly has to do with electives. “Many students have been forced to take a study hall because of lack of space in electives,” said Mrs. Ennis. “The freshman have been very flexible with their schedules defaulting to a study hall,” said fellow guidance counselor Laura Bond.

Freshman Katie Tzivanis was not expecting to have to take a study hall after switching out of Ceramics. She wanted to take Current Events but the class was full. Tzivanis ended up taking Media Productions One for the first semester. During the second semester, she was placed in a study hall. “I’m frustrated because Media Two is available during the second semester, but it’s full. They might be able to squeeze me in, but it’s doubtful, ” said Tzivanis.

“After the first couple of days, the students seem to be getting used to the new environment,” said Mrs. Ennis. Mrs. Bond said that something freshman had noticed was that the high school has very different expectations than the middle school. “The teachers and students have done a great job adjusting,” said Mrs. Bond.

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