Freshmen reflect on their first semester of Upper Secondary School

By Sunny Cha, and Grace Shin, News Editor

freshmanarticleFreshmen skillfully adjusted to a drastic transition from Lower Secondary to Upper Secondary School. Increased workload, complex schedules, and pressure to compile a lavish resume for college are just examples of the new adjustments freshmen have been going through.

Freshman Taewoo Kim, emphasized the exacerbating academic pressure. “Sixth grade, seventh grade and eight grade were just a matter of numbers. Now that I am a freshman, I have more pressure with a busier schedule.” Two of the greatest differences from Lower Secondary to Upper Secondary for Taewoo were the extended class times and delayed lunch hours. “Compared to lunch time in middle school, in high school we eat lunch one hour later. It is hard to wait for lunch time with the longer classes.”

However, the complex schedules of choosing electives, participating in various clubs and KAIAC tournaments were also new and enthralling. Taewoo chose Publications and Concert Band. He believes that high school is busy but “still very fun.”

Freshman Sarah Uhm said adjusting to high school made her feel as if she was “getting more mature.”

Freshman Diana Kim agreed, “High school makes me feel like I’m a step ahead in life, learning what maturity is, and getting closer to my dreams and what I really want to do in life.”

Despite the heavy workload, freshmen have balanced their social lives with their academic pressures. Caelan Hodge shared, “I like high school better than middle school. Although I have harder classes and more complicated schedules I still can manage doing this.” He added, “High school definitely allows me to have a bigger social circle.”

Sarah Kim shared, “You get to meet more upperclassmen and build new relationships.”

However, the upcoming Personal Projects, SATs and pressure to hone one’s high school profile with various extracurriculars make freshmen worried, up to the point that Sarah felt she was “freaking out.”

Former freshman, Victor Jeong gave his personal advice, “When I came to high school, I faced various struggles such as the heavy workload in Publications class. I also understand how the classes were so much harder than middle school. I had many days where I said, ‘Wow looks like I can’t go out today, I have to stay home and do my homework.”

Victor continued, “However, I was still excited about going to high school because I thought it would make me go a step forward in life. I got to find out a lot of things about myself and the way to survive high school life.” His advice was to “get to know your upperclassmen better, especially sophomores, because you will have to be with them for at least three years.”

Mrs. Lozano, also shared her personal experiences at school to give intimate suggestions. “I was failing biology freshman year, as in I was getting an ‘F’. At first, I did not know what I was doing wrong. I asked my mom to talk with my teacher and she came back to me with advice on how to take notes and study for his class. Once I knew what the teacher was looking for, I was able to raise my grade and finished the school year with an A.”

She added, “If you are struggling in your classes, it is really important that you talk to your teachers! Also, remember that having balance in your life is important. Make sure that you are happy in high school.”

Angela Park, with five months left before graduation, shared some practical advice, “Freshmen! Focus on your GPA rather than your SATs. GPA is one of the most important aspects for your college apps. Be sure to go and do various club and sports activities as well.”