Entering High School: Should the Jump Be Smaller?

Now that we’re almost 4 months into the school year and nearly done with the year itself, it is about time to check in with how the 9th graders were doing. To some, the jump from middle school to high school was perceived as enormous, while to others, it made almost no difference. So based on the responses of a few freshmen students, I was able to find out some interesting things by asking the following three questions:

  1. How big do you think the jump from grade 8 to grade was?
  2. How do/did you cope with the change?
  3. How could the jump from MS to HS be made better?

Below are the responses from five different freshmen. 

Uyen Trinh:

  1. Pretty significant. I mean the environment as in classes and teachers is similar. However, the expectations and pressures (social, academic, athletics) are completely different. The standards are raised and you are expected to perform at an optimal level for everything. I mean it was like this for me last year but now that grades count, it is even worse.
  2. Not coping very well. The stress does get to me at times and I break down and start getting really anxious, but I think I’m getting better. 
  3. It cannot. This big step needs to be experienced in order for all of us to realize that our childhood years are officially over and we need to take people seriously in order for us to be taken seriously.

Max Knight

  1. Pretty small; most scheduling and lessons were the same, it was all pretty familiar. In my old school, there wasn’t even a difference between MS and HS; they didn’t exist. We just had primary (elementary) and secondary (MSHS).
  2. I actually much prefer Grade 9, so I just had to adjust to an easier and more comfortable way of life. It is a bit more work, but that’s easy to cope with; I just have to focus.
  3. I think that it’s pretty good as it is; it’s a lot easier than the transition from elementary to MS.

Kevin Gibney

  1. For me the jump from 8th to 9th grades wasn’t massive, but it wasn’t small either. It was hard because I had a lot of friends leaving, and also the way the classes were arranged was a little bit harder, as I never remember my schedule. I did manage to adjust however, and get the pattern of my schedule into my head.
  2. 1 way I cope with things is through sports and other out of school activities. These helped me get new friendships and forge new interests.
  3. The jump from MS to HS could be better if MS had a more similar scheduling system and if lunch was changed so that we could have lunch earlier (we are growing teenagers, WE NEED FOOD EARLIER).

Nadya Suprobo

  1. From my experience, the jump wasn’t too overwhelming. In grade 8, the teachers had already increased their expectations concerning deadlines, the quality of our work and our behavior in class, so it wasn’t too surprising in high school as to what was expected of us. The workload has definitely increased, but over the past couple of months, I’ve become pretty used to it and naturally developed a routine to complete my work efficiently, while still having time to do other recreational things. There are changes from grade 8 to grade 9, like how homerooms are dramatically smaller and that all of your classes are with different people. However, it was really easy to get used to and I think it’s even better than having bigger homerooms/classes with the same group of people every day.
  2. At first it was a little strange jumping from being the oldest (8th grade) to the youngest (9th grade), but honestly you just get used to it. I didn’t have to change anything big to adjust to high school, it was mostly my routine and priorities that changed. As long as you manage your time and prioritize SLEEP and homework, you’ll be alright.
  3. As I said before, the transition was pretty smooth, but in some particular classes the expectations/workload/etc. increased a LOT and I think maybe it could be beneficial if our teachers would look at what we did last year to make sure that we’re ready for it.

Rohan Gwoda:

  1. Pretty big, but I wouldn’t say it’s as big as the transition from PYP to MYP. There are definitely a lot more responsibilities that have to be upheld, and grades definitely have to be taken much more seriously, but I feel like grade 8 has prepped me well enough so I can learn things and also survive grade 9.
  2. I got motivation from my friends who were in the same situation as I was.
  3. I think it’s a vital part of preparing you for HS and IB, so I wouldn’t really change anything.

Even by skimming through their responses, it is evident that they felt there was a change from MS to HS. It was also apparent that the students felt that the jump was necessary as in our development as a student, saying “it’s a vital part in preparing you for HS and IB,” although these students still believed there could have been a few small changes. Most of these students said that the workload had indeed increased, and one in particular even said that because of this, “it would be beneficial if our teachers would look at what we did last year to make sure that we’re ready for it”. This is something I agree with myself. Of course it is our job as students to understand the concepts we’re being taught, but a lot of it should be based on the foundation we had built in the previous year(s) which help us in comprehending the topics much better.

Beside the adjustment in the schedule, workload and social network (all things that are not under our control), these grade 9 students did not believe that the change was unfair or too harsh. Of course there were things that were brought up; however, is it because it’s up to the students to adapt, or is there a necessary change that the school could make in order to solve them?