The freshman scoop

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Photos by Lila-Renaé McAuley

Athens students walking to modular classes. Many freshman students take foreign language courses.

The beginning of high school. The start of our future. The famous 9th grade experience. So, what’s the deal with being a freshman?

It’s totally a big deal. Freshman year is the introduction to the high school experience. Between growth spurts and dating, there’s a bunch going on. Freshmen have so many opportunities in front of them and can choose what they prefer. Different electives and after-school activities, sports and quirky clubs. Every freshman gets their once-in-a-lifetime chance to leave their mark. So why do so many students never take the chance?

In spite of the good, freshman year is looked at by many as “the worst year of high school.” Many students feel nervous about entering high school. They feel worried about being picked on and afraid of being outcasts. I was scared myself, being at the bottom of the teenage social hierarchy.

In every movie/show or if you talk to anyone who has already went to high school they’re like ‘everyone bullies freshmen because they’re new to high school,”

— Nonnie Xhao

“In every movie/show or if you talk to anyone who has already went to high school they’re like ‘everyone bullies freshmen because they’re new to high school’,

With a whole semester of exposure to sophomores and juniors, I can say confidently that this isn’t reality. Upperclassmen are really cool people and they’re good for help if you need it. Even though high school movies are fun to watch, they aren’t all that accurate to real life. The fear of being ostracized by your peers is normal and usually healthy, too. The challenges freshmen face go beyond bullying, however.

A big concern with almost every freshman is keeping their grades up. High school is a pretty big change from middle school because of the differing amounts of responsibility.

It’s nerve-wracking. It’s stressful. There’s a lot of pressure placed on us to succeed. I totally get that feeling because of my experience with harder subjects. Sometimes, I think I’ll fall behind my classmates and fail too. It’s always good to be positive and try your best to make the most of it. 

But there are some really great things about high school, too. Unlike the confusion and intense social pressure we faced in our middle school years, we’re more comfortable in discovering who we are. We get a chance to pursue opportunities that fit our personalities. There’s four whole years for us to grow new interests. The whole point of high school is to experiment with subjects we may want to pursue

“It’s weird, but I like it! It makes me feel more like an adult since there’s people older than me. I’m pretty excited about my sophomore year because there are more classes I can take!” said Cameron Johnson, freshman. 

This year is a fresh start for everyone. So much can be explored, and not just educationally. We’re already growing with our bodies and figuring out who we are. Freshman year is such a good time to be yourself. We really only get one shot at making the most of it. This is one of the greatest school years ever; we need to take advantage of it.