Every year, freshmen come to M-A with expectations of what high school will be like, and the first semester is often an adjustment from what students are used to in middle school.
Sam Rousseau said, “M-A was not what I expected. I expected it to be more scary, but when I started talking to people, I made a lot of friends. It’s gone by pretty quickly. So far, high school has just felt like a leveled-up version of middle school.” Clara De Barros added, “One adjustment is that there’s a lot of work. It’s scary to think that your grades actually matter in high school.”
Lucy Westwood said, “The school is a lot bigger and has a deeper community than what I expected for such a big school. The classroom environment is a lot different than high school too. School activities like Club Rush and the football rally were cool and interesting events that you don’t experience before you go to high school.”
Sophia Silver said, “M-A is bigger and more diverse than Hillview Middle School was, and there’s a lot more freedom and more activities to do.” Silver also pointed out that M-A’s bathrooms were a lot more hectic than middle school.
Many students had ideas of what finals looked like before actually taking any. Rousseau said, “Finals were a lot less scary than I thought it would be. I expected it to be stressful, but it was actually pretty chill.”
Sileih Robinson said, “Finals weren’t really what I expected. I thought I would sit down and take a test on the day of the final, but there were projects too.”
Westwood said, “Teachers prepare you a lot for finals, and while they were a bit more stressful than other tests, they weren’t too bad. I expected most finals to be two-hour-long tests, but only one was.”
Natalie Sanchez added, “I thought finals were stressful because they were harder than I expected. Keeping my grades up and the amount of work made it challenging.”
Silver said, “I think Hillview actually overprepared us a little. They made it out to be really scary and different when it really wasn’t, and the transition was smooth.” Sanchez, who attended Kennedy Middle School, said, “Middle school is pretty similar to high school because my school had a seven-class schedule and we had periods similar to FlexTime.”
However, Robinson, who attended East Palo Alto Charter School, said, “High school has been fairly hard since my middle school did not prepare me at all. I think if I had done a day of shadowing here while in middle school, I would’ve been more comfortable and would’ve known what to expect.”
Emma Magdalin, who attended Peninsula School, said, “I felt like my middle school prepared me because they showed what high school would be like, especially coming from a small school. Here, it is nice because there are so many people to meet and it is easier to make friends.”
Alja Ribic said, “Freshman year has been way easier than I expected. It feels like you’re coming into a large community, but thankfully I came here with friends, and this school does a good job easing us in. My advice for incoming students is to be yourself and let yourself ease in.”
Silver said, “I’m excited to explore the school more since I was just trying to figure everything out the first semester. Now I’m comfortable, so I’m excited to do more.” Ribic agreed, saying “I kind of want to find a place for us to stay and belong in.”