Being a freshman: expectation v.s. reality

Tony Yacavone, Staff Writer

As the end of my freshman year approaches, I look back and can’t help but realize how different it was compared to my expectations. From social situations to the classroom, it definitely doesn’t play out how you expect.

One of my fears going into 9th grade was the size of the school. Finding all of your classes and getting to them in only 5 minutes seemed ridiculous. The middle school classes were almost door to door, so this was definitely a huge change from what I was used to.

This problem faded away about two weeks in, you start learning that layout of the school and five minutes becomes way more than enough time to get to the next class. Memorizing your schedule also becomes incredibly easy, since you always walk to your classes in a set order. Only a few months into the year, you start walking to the next class on autopilot.

I also thought that the workload would only be slightly higher than the one in 8th grade, about which I was entirely wrong. During 8th grade, I typically spent maybe an hour on homework every night, and the weekend was typically a break from all homework. Tests and quizzes felt like a joke and school was mostly a place where I went to socialize and laugh.

Everything academic becomes significantly more serious than it was before, and even though I understand that freshman year really doesn’t matter, it is certainly not presented that way. You start to get homework for almost every class, every day and you spend a greater amount of time on it than before. Weekend homework is also regularly assigned. Tests and quizzes are also given much more frequently and you have to study larger amounts of material for them. Every single test feels important despite the large amount. Failing becomes possible and if you do not study you will quickly realize this. All of these factors make school much less enjoyable than it used to be and life becomes a balancing act of spending the required amount of time on school work while also having a life outside of it. Work piles up much more than it used to and you need to learn how to space it out otherwise one class will fall behind another. In class, work also becomes more tedious because you may not have anyone you know in some classes. While this becomes less of an issue as the year goes on, classes are packed with things to fill the time so talking to others becomes rarer. Due to the increased workload, your social life will most likely take place more outside of school.

Going into the year, I thought that freshmen would be somewhat ostracized for being younger than other grade level students. I also thought that all of my friends would be freshmen and that even talking to someone in another grade level would be rare.

I quickly realized that this is not the case. By the end of the year, most students in my multi-grade level classes had become friends or at least been familiar with one another. A lot of different grade level students even eat lunch together. At the start of the year I would say that the different grade level students were never mean to each other, they mostly just weren’t familiar with one another. After some time, no matter the grade level, they just become like any other student.

With the two middle schools coming together to the same high school, you will likely be in classes with people you don’t know. This is something I was nervous about, as making new friends just seemed annoying since you already had to do it in middle school.

While it is a burden, new friends will always come around. Just as before, there will be people in your classes that you like and dislike but during this year I didn’t have a single class where there was nobody that I liked. You also usually end up with at least one of your friends or at least someone you know, so even if you don’t make any new friends, you will probably never be alone.

The experience of freshmen year may start feeling confusing and it will take a while to get used to. Once you get here, it quickly becomes normal despite how different it is than middle school. While there are some negatives to being a freshmen, I can easily say that it is far better than middle school, I would not want to go back.