Freshmen Reflect on the First Marking Period

Freshmen students

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Piper Walsh

Anijah Perry, Katarina Losekamp, and Daevan Mangalmurti are all from different middle schools, neighborhoods, and ethnic backgrounds. However, they all agree that in terms of high school, it’s not what they expected.

When I first arrived at Obama Academy, I didn’t really know what to expect.  I had attended  five schools before Obama, two in Colorado, Falk, CAPA, and Indooroopilly High School in Australia. These were all very unique experiences, and changing schools was always a bit of an ordeal. Changing schools or just moving up to high school can be a difficult transition, and you can’t ever really know what to expect. At Obama, I have found a few good friends just by being myself. I have met a lot of people and made new friends participating in extracurriculars such as Battle of the Books and crew. My schoolwork has increased in difficulty a bit, but organization is crucial.

In the search to find the best ways to become successful in high school, I interviewed a few of my classmates to get their advice. These students all had different outlooks on how high school was different from middle school. On how high school had surprised them, Katarina Losekamp said, “The workload. It’s a very big transition between the middle school and high school workloads.”  Anijah Perry said, “There’s just more expected of you.” It is true that the transition can be difficult, whether it’s changing buildings of schedules. In addition to that, your classes expect you to do more of the work in your free time. In addition to academic work, the social standards also change, but according to Daevan Mangalmurti they surprised him positively. “I had an easier time getting to meet new people than I thought I would.”

Because these students have had a couple of months experience in ninth grade, I asked them what they would’ve done differently entering high school with their current knowledge.  Katarina and Anijah said they would’ve focused more on the school work. Katarina said that she made a mistake and, “Put more time into smaller things and not my school work so my grades went down.” Daevan said that if he could do something differently he would, “Control my gilded tongue and not have annoyed Ms. McKrell.”

On the first day of school, most students are extremely worried about making friends, understanding the school work, and most of all meeting their teachers. Teachers are a crucial part of school, but many people disagree about how important it is to be in the teacher’s good graces. According to Anijah Perry, “It’s not important as long as you’re learning something and understanding what they’re teaching.” It seems pretty obvious, however, if you are not in a teacher’s good graces it makes it more difficult to comprehend the lesson, and if you don’t comprehend the lesson it is harder to do the work and harder to get the teacher to like you. Having this view, Daevan Mangalmurti said that being on good terms with teachers is, “Pretty important.”

High school can seem intimidating and be a big change. Although you need to adapt, there are positive aspects too. You have to change the workload and adapt your schedule and deal with the challenges of extracurriculars. You will have good times, bad times, and learning experiences. With a little bit of luck, you will leave without needing that much therapy, so good luck!

 

Sam Bisno

Between 20 and 30% of children of teenagers have experienced some form of serious anxiety or depression, according to the Dave Nee Foundation, and school is by far the most common stressor (NBC). Clearly, many people of high school age deal with mental strain as a result of their so-called “job”. The following article will detail my experience and others’ as freshmen, as well as provide tips for those struggling or those preparing to make the leap to high school next year.

Personally, high school has been a mix of challenges and successes. As someone in my first year at Obama, it has been a totally new animal. Some of the things I have faced thus far were expected; some were not. The main adjustment I have had to make is acclimating to the amount of work. While before each class gave less homework and I had fewer classes that actually gave regular homework, I now consistently get homework in every class. This change has demanded that I manage my time better and become more organized, something I have always struggled with. Having to juggle so many different assignments at once has meant that I can no longer afford to procrastinate if I am to avoid staying up until midnight the night before a project is due. That being said, my teachers have been very willing to work with me and I have found that by balancing my workload smartly I can deal with most things that are thrown at me.

When it comes to the social side of things, I was expecting to have difficulty fitting into a larger friend circle as an outsider. This has not been an issue. Everyone at Obama has been extremely open and welcoming, and I have not had trouble finding people to hang around. In that regard, high school has been easy.

In talking to other freshmen, I was able to gain other perspectives on this matter in addition to my own. Many of them share my views and many of them do not. I interviewed three fellow classmen in particular to gain further insight into this issue: Amanda Jones, Katarina Losekamp, and Zaire Giles.

When asked about the biggest change they have had to make between middle school and high school, Amanda and Zaire were on the same page. “The way I study,” she said. “There’s a lot more information, so I can’t do the bare minimum anymore.” Zaire seconded this: “managing time”. On the other hand, Katarina’s biggest struggle so far has been a social one: “making friends.” Evidently, each person has encountered different obstacles thus far.

When it comes to strategies they have developed to cope with these challenges, Amanda said she tries to “get the main ideas first and apply those to everything else”, whereas Zaire said the following: “Saving the smaller assignments for last and doing the big stuff first. It helps your grade a lot.” Katarina’s method to make friends has been to “be more outgoing”. These strategies have helped aid these students overcome their hurdles, be them academic or social. Whatever approach you choose, it is important that you take initiative to resolve problems before they get in the way of success.

Finally, each of them gave one message or piece of advice to anyone worried about or struggling with getting adjusted to high school. “Keep doing your work,” Zaire said. “If you pick up the pace and do your assignments, things will turn around. And don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

To summarize, high school (or at least 9th grade) is by no means a walk in the park. It comes with a lot of new responsibility, work, and in some cases social stress. But if you try your best to stay organized and on task and are sure to be yourself and ask for help whenever you need it, it becomes surprisingly manageable. All one needs to do is take a look at the school motto: “Nothing in life is so complicated that it cannot be achieved by discipline and hard work.”

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Pittsburgh Barack Obama Academy of International Studies
Freshmen Reflect on the First Marking Period