Photo by Kaylin Donoghue

Facing Freshman Year

Every year a new group of freshmen are thrown into the high school experience. At IACS, each student experiences the situation differently, whether they transfer here from other Middlesex County schools or level up from the IACS middle school. Many freshmen have felt intimidated by the general high school feel, however their perspectives vary due to their backgrounds in education.

Carrie Brooks, a freshman who went to the IACS middle school said: “It was pretty much the same as switching from seventh to eighth grade.” She went on to describe how the middle school provided the same flow, and that the schedule had matched her expectations, so it wasn’t as challenging as students might expect.
However Junior Bianca Trujillo, a student who was new to the school, now a current upperclassman, had a different experience: “Well my middle school (Lowell Community Charter School) was a lot different than IACS… I definitely faced difficulties during my transition.” Bianca transitioned from a small school, graduating with eight kids. IACS provided a community feel with a large quantity of students compared to her last school that she wasn’t quite used to, making it difficult. “At such a smaller school you were familiar with everyone, here there are so many new, interesting people I haven’t met.”
Even though the two groups of freshman have different experiences there are some difficulties that both face: one’s social status. Freshmen enter high school with many worries, but their social status tends to fall first on the list.
For the new freshman it is hard to find friends due to the social groups already formed. Trujillo found this in her first year at IACS. “Definitely trying to find friends, since majority here went to the middle school they all had their groups,”. Trujillo did have trouble making friends, but it didn’t take long, “after a week I found myself in a group of friends that were very welcoming.”
The freshmen leveling up from middle school have a similar experience where they may lose all their their friends or maybe a few because they went to a different high school. This causes them to have to figure out who their social group is going to be for the next year.
Brooks mentioned this, she said there was a large amount of freshmen who lost their friends during their transition from the middle school due to the students transferring out to attend a different high school.
Whether it’s a returning student or a new student, they face the challenge of finding friends. A current freshman who has adjusted and an upper classmen offered advice on social status.
Senior, Luke Sheehan advised to “find your clique,” but he stressed how one can always change someone’s first perception of them, acting as a second chance to make friends to relieve some worry of freshmen.

Well-adjusted freshman Sebastian Chavez gave the advice of “being social is key!” Sebastian is a new freshman from Dracut, that kicked the school year off right with his thought about being social. “ Success is like a locked door, and to me being social is the key. If I wasn’t social I wouldn’t be where I am today with my group of friends.”
“What is the workload like, am I gonna be able to handle it?” and “Will the classes be too hard for me?” are questions often asked by freshman. The thought of giving up weekend plans to accomplish projects, essays, etc. is not easy. It also doesn’t always happen.
“I definitely entered high school with some worries. I was very concerned about the workload and the classes being hard, or at least too hard for me. So far they’ve been pretty much the same as last year.” Brooks explained her seamless transition, and how IACS does a great job of placing you exactly where your level of curriculum is so relief of some worries and sighs of breath may be released.
Trujillo revealed how her worries dissolved in a matter of classes, and how they shouldn’t have been thought of. “All the classes are definitely a lot different. That got me worried, but after a few days, and a few classes just talking with teachers, everything just got a lot better,”(Bianca Trujillo).
Sheehan explained his difficulties with workload when starting at IACS for high school. “I mean it’s obviously gonna be a lot different, the work load toughens up, classes change ( getting longer ), those are more on the surface physical changes though, but I’m sure in other schools the transition is lot more harsh and different but here it’s pretty seamless.” Luke Sheehan transitioned here as a freshman from the Chelmsford Public School Systems and had no major difficulties, approaching the worries of workload and classes, however bearing their weight and receiving no further problems.
Freshmen year is something most face with challenges. A new student and a returning student may feel differently about the subject, but have both have their shared amount of stress. As students increase in each grade level they soon realize the amount of stress they caused themselves as a freshman was completely unnecessary.
Freshmen new to the school don’t exactly know what to expect coming to a different school, especially one that might vary a lot from where they received past education. They have the additional worries of making friends and shared worries of the amount of work they will have to accomplish. Returning students may face the same difficulties however less extreme.
Since freshman year is hard here is some advice to freshmen still having trouble finding their way. Sheehan jokingly advised “don’t be a freshmen.”
However Bianca Trujillo suggested to “definitely be yourself and anytime you need help, make sure to ask your teachers, they are there to support you.”
Freshmen year is memorable, and experienced differently by everyone. It may be more difficult for some, but in the long term is something each students looks back at, especially when they’re an upperclassman telling freshmen not to be freshmen.

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