High school: expectations vs. reality

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In middle school, eighth graders are the role models…the grade that the students three years younger look up to. Ever since fifth grade, you’ve witnessed the eighth grade clap out, and now it’s finally your turn. But until now, have you actually stopped to think about…what comes next?

We interviewed some of the current eighth graders about their high school expectations, and we came across some interesting responses.

Most, if not everybody, aims to do well in high school. But what else would you expect going into freshman year? Overall, a majority of eighth graders said that they wanted to have a good year…one with less drama. They also replied that they expect to have to study harder so that they will be able to have their ideal GPA. Some of the eighth graders expect high school to be very stressful. Others have heard stories that may change their expectations of high school.

We asked the kids about “horror stories” they had heard about high school, as we had heard many when we were preparing to enter the high school world. Many people mentioned hearing of someone cutting their finger off in wood shop, fear of mounds of homework, and most commonly: seniors.

Seniors bullying freshmen is a classic tale in fiction, so almost every incoming freshman that does not have incoming senior siblings attempt to avoid the seniors at all costs. What they don’t realize is that the grades tend to all blend together in high school, so it’s quite common to be friends with people outside of your grade.

Most eighth graders feel that they are prepared for high school, but are a bit nervous regardless. Many of them are also planning on taking advanced classes going into their freshman year.

When asked about which school traditions the incoming freshmen are looking forward to, we got a wide variety of responses. A multitude of them are excited to participate in the crazy Halloween festivities, as well as being in the student section at Friday night football games and ringing the bell afterwards. Some other students mentioned their excitement for the high school dances, having Primetime every Friday, and going to the pep rallies. But are these things really that exciting and worth looking forward to? Let’s find out.

We interviewed some current freshmen about the reality of high school, and all in all, they had a lot of good things to say about it. The current ninth graders believe that their transition from middle to high school went well overall, but was still quite stressful. The students felt prepared (for the most part) in terms of academics. When the freshmen were in the eighth grade, they had their own expectations for what high school would be like, and they were very similar to what the current eighth graders expect: more freedom, more academic choice, more work, and stricter teachers.

This year’s freshmen found that their expectations were almost entirely accurate. The workload was indeed more intense, and more effort was definitely required in order to achieve a good GPA. They also found that they had both more freedom and more responsibility than in middle school. The only inaccurate thing was that teachers would be more strict, as they found that the high school teachers were more relatable and laid back.

As you think about freshman year, is there anything that you wish you would’ve known ahead of time? Well, there is no doubt that the current freshmen wish they would’ve gotten advice. Their advice to the soon to be freshmen was to keep up with homework, put in time to study, get involved in clubs and extracurriculars, and find your classes before the first day of school.

They added that high school is not as hard as it it made out to be. There is more responsibility, but with that comes more freedom.  The major differences that they noticed between the schools were that block scheduling is much different from the period scheduling in the middle school, that lunches were organized based on what classes you have instead of what grade you are in, that periods are shortened every Friday because of Primetime, and that it is much easier to make friends due to how the grades all mix together.

High school can be “the best four years of your life” if you make the best of it. Incoming freshmen: take the advice given to you by high schoolers, and remember it when you begin your adventure into your last years of grade school. Current freshmen: remember what it is like to be the underdogs in high school, and how hard the transition may be for some people. Upperclassmen: When you went into high school, did you have similar expectations?

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