The Student News Site of Harrison High School

The Husky Herald

The Student News Site of Harrison High School

The Husky Herald

The Student News Site of Harrison High School

The Husky Herald

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Freshman Frights

What Our Ninth Graders Are Saying About Their First Year at HHS

Strolling in a mysterious foreign building to your first destination soon after the bell rings envelops you in fear. This is the first time you will spend 8 hours at this location with no knowledge of where these destinations reside. This fear adds weight, only adding more force than the gravity already being applied to your back. You stare at your “map” to examine the rooms and glance at the room numbers, but the dense hallways make it a struggle to make out the room numbers, causing you to walk in a seemingly endless loop of circles. Eventually, as the hallways clean up, you realize you have indeed wandered in circles for minutes on end, and your destination makes its presence clear: D114. The bell had stopped ringing after its second alarm, likely proposing the notion you are late. Soon after, you are proven correct by the clock: 7:47 AM. 

This short story isn’t just a fictional story; this is proven by the many people who experience fear walking into a fresh new school for the first time – even you. Regardless of where you go to school, many people experience first-day frights. Doing something new for the first time can always be stressful, though the stress does certainly vary. Going into a new grade but remaining in the same school isn’t as stressful as going into a new school and grade, as you are dealing with a whole new environment with new people to boot. As the new school year comes and goes with new freshmen entering for the first time, it’s important always to get perspectives from them and the people in charge of teaching and supporting them. 

On an overall general basis, first-year students entering any school often struggle mentally, whether it be mental exhaustion or depression. According to Inside Higher Ed, about 53% of first-year students experience mental and emotional exhaustion. Of that 53% of people, 70% of them had challenges in school. The survey had 35,000+ students surveyed, meaning that about 18,550 students in that sample size recorded mental fatigue. Since 30% of that 18,550 sample reported their struggles from school, 12,985 students reported mental fatigue from their struggles in school. 

Harrison High School English teacher Leah Moore, who teaches primarily 9th grade English and Freshman Writing Seminar, gave her own perspective on the general consensus with her students. When asked about her students’ emotions on the first day of school, she responded by stating the emotions most commonly expressed by students are “exhaustion and stress,”. 

From a student’s perspective, Carol Brandt, a current 9th grader at HHS, shared her view on her first year at Harrison High School.  When questioned about how her emotions throughout the summer approaching 9th grade, she responded “I was very nervous about lunch, and meeting new people. It was just scary. Thinking about being in class with people I don’t like is scary.” She then continued to mention her fear started to evaporate after school schedules were released: it was less nerve-wracking knowing who was in her classes. 

On her first day of school at HHS, she mentions the day being strange and uncomfortable .He thought the school would have been much larger but ended up being much smaller than she anticipated. She quickly followed it up with, “Then I realized it was just a circle, then a rectangle. The hallways were very dense and hard to navigate.”

9th grade students were surveyed about their feelings on the first day of school. Of 43 total responses where students answered on a scale of 1-5 (1=feeling terrible, 5=feeling great) the results showed 14 students, or 32.6% feeling terrible, 15 students (34.9%) feeling neutral and the remaining 14 students feeling great. When examining the chart, it becomes clear that the consensus is pretty evenly split with exactly 14 students feeling either terrible or great on both sides, with 15 as the median between them.

When looking at their overall year beyond just their first day there is a noticeable increase in negative feelings.

This graph differs from the previous diagram as nobody in the sample voted a 5, or felt associated with feeling great. 18 people, or 41.8% voted for feeling awful, with 16 (37.2%)feeling indifferent. The 9 remaining students had positive associations with their freshman year. However, nobody voted for feeling great. 

*no students voted for not staying after freshman year

When investigated about their upcoming futures at HHS however, the perspectives shift from leaning more neutral and positive. Only about 16.3%, or 7 students voted for being worried, with only one student voting for feeling very worried. On the other hand, 83.7%, or 36 of the remaining students voted for being indifferent or excited about their future HHS career. This highlights the shift of students becoming more positive about high school careers, despite more students on average feeling terrible about their current freshman year. 

One student on the survey who will remain anonymous stated, “Honestly, confusion. I guess I just didn’t know what to expect from a new school that was going to be very different from LMK, but that confusion eventually faded as the days went on.” While first day frights are a natural occurrence, for most it subsides quickly and they thrive in their new environment. 


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