Checking in with the Freshmen

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Photo credit: Alex Parham

Freshman year is a time of adjustment. Many freshmen are given new privileges, like more freedom, coed classes, and being able to use cell phones. This year the Class of 2019 enters the Upper School. Some are nervous going into the new year, and others excited to get started.  I remember being nervous going into my freshman year. I was excited for the freedom, being able to use my cell phone at lunch and in study hall, but nervous about interactions with upperclassmen. I remember walking down the Math and History hall, in the old Upper School, and hearing the words “Ew, it’s a freshman” flying off the lips of senior as I passed. Ever since I was a freshman, I’ve been interested in them. They do interesting things, like travel in packs, and ask extremely early for Homecoming. This year I caught up with some freshmen to ask them what they their first impressions of the Upper School, are and how they are adjusting to the Upper School lifestyle.

Well, I thought it was like crazy at first, because people like used phones, chewed gum, and had backpacks. In Middle School, we could not have done any of those things. But it is pretty chill,” Zaed Karabatek (‘19) candidate for Class President of the Freshmen Class.

Freshman year can either go really well or it can be a bit of an adjustment. It’s filled with awkward times as you and your friends begin the road to a long four years of high school. As you embark on the journey with the rest of your class, you eventually learn the ways of the Upper School. You learn where each class sits in Oates Theatre, the Academic Commons, and McFall Hall, and you will also begin learn about what is acceptable and what is not.  Freshmen can usually be seen traveling in packs and can be found in the Saunders Library before school starts. Many freshmen seemed to be concerned about grades and their workload . “I actually have to worry about my grades,” Nathan West (‘19) said when asked about some of the differences between Middle School and Upper School.

So far the freshman seem to like the Upper School. Thomas Rausch (‘19) is a new student who transferred from Holman Middle School. He rated Collegiate an “eight out of ten going in, now ten out of ten.” Rausch loves the Upper School, thinks the teachers are “awesome” and enjoys the new freedom; “Freedom is a big difference, there’s a lot more.”

The number one response to some of the new things about the Upper School that freshman enjoy was freedom. “I really like the freedom, it’s all about getting the work done, and then you can do your thing,” Sky Song (‘19) says. “It’s been fine so far, I enjoy the freedom and Academic Commons.” West said, while talking about first impressions of the Upper School.  Karabatek says “My workload this year is just a bit larger, but with so much free time it isn’t a big deal.” Margaux Gaeser (‘19) said that there is a lot more “planning ahead” when it comes to preparing for assessments, and working on projects and papers. Planning ahead seemed to be a reoccurring theme among the freshmen.  

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A group of freshmen boys working hard in English class. Captured by Alex Parham.

One of the things I struggled the most with Freshman year was using my free time properly. I carried over some of my lackadaisical Middle School habits, and that barely got me by. I found myself waiting until the last moment to write papers and do projects, and as I went deeper into the school year I knew I needed to make changes to my routine. To the current freshmen: you must learn to properly use your free time. Proper use of free time can be the difference between a stressful school life and a relaxed one.

About the author

Parham Alex is in High School, and is a senior