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THE BEACON

Hey Freshmen, How’s it Going?

The transition into physical classes after two years of online learning due to COVID has been hard for everyone, but especially to 9th graders. Now that we’re halfway through the school year, how are these students doing right now? Beginning high school has certainly been an adjustment for plenty of freshmen, since they are entering the final phase of schooling before college. Because of this, there
are added expectations for them to be more independent and responsible. I, too, am a 9th grader, so there were some adjustments that I had to make for myself. Being from another country and transferring to school mid-year, there were definitely some instances where I felt that I was overloaded with schoolwork and needed a breather. Asking freshmen in Forest Hills High School about what they find difficult about high school, freshman Esther Acuna said, “The classes and the amount of work.” According to a survey given to my English class, 71% of them felt at least some level of pressure or stress because of school. One of the questions asked students about time management. Most freshmen admitted that they try to maintain a routine and immediately do their homework once they return home.

When speaking with one of our Spanish teachers, Ms. Chacon, she mentioned that when it comes to her 9th-grade students, the goal is to create a low-stress, comfortable environment, and she aims to be available when students need help. However, the stress and pressure felt by freshmen is normal and is something that we can’t always avoid. So how do we improve this? One answer – getting involved in extracurricular activities. Our school provides an abundance of after-school sports and clubs for all interests. When speaking to an anonymous freshman about extracurriculars, they mentioned that joining clubs allows students to meet people who have similar interests and goals. Ms. Colon, one of our Math teachers, also highly recommends becoming involved in after-school activities because it gives [students] exposure to experiences other than just being in the classroom. “Being engaged in extracurricular activities also helps if [students]  plan to apply to college in the future,” Ms. Colon added. The main cause of students facing difficulties and feeling pressured in school is hesitation to ask for help when they most need it. There are many resources in our building, especially teachers who will be there to guide and help when asked for help. Ms. Chacon states that she “want[s] [students] to feel open and comfortable with [her], that when they need help they can always reach out to [her].” Although we’re stressed, the majority of freshmen surveyed have high hopes for the future. Most hope to end the school year with high grades and flying colors, which is an optimistic way of looking at the future.

Starting high school being from another country was certainly a hard time at the beginning, not to mention transferring mid-year, the curriculum, the people, and upon entering the halls of Hills, I’ve been bombarded with the same question: “How did you learn English?” The answer: I didn’t give up when it got tough. Use your resources, such as teachers and guidance counselors. Get involved in after-school activities. And lastly, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

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About the Contributor
Brent Niebres, Copy Editor
Brent Niebres is in 9th grade. He likes to bake and swim.
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