A Reflection on a Freshman School Year
Author Anthony Lee
To say the very least, this school year has been exhausting but exhilarating. Yes, it may seem contradictory, but that is the most accurate description I could ever give for my freshman year. Truthfully I hadn’t thought much about it before now. But as the end of the 2016-2017 school year approached slowly but surely (if only it could come sooner!) and my teachers inundated me with project after project (two weeks before finals, may I add), I couldn’t help but reminisce about the events from this past year. To all the upperclassmen reading this editorial and thinking, “Pshaw, the freshmen didn’t have anything of substance to remember,” I will just say that this couldn’t be farther from the truth. We freshman have plenty to look back on, and I bet if you think hard enough, you too will also remember one grand moment from your freshman experiences. If not, just check your memory books when you’re a senior. :)
Coming to Charter was an eye-opening experience for me, and I know the beginning of the year was grueling for every freshman. Surviving in high school is a totally different battle from surviving in middle school; not only have the old obstacles of middle school intensified, but new, more challenging ones have been added. I can clearly remember one of my first days in ISS when Mr. Oakes told my class that everyone of us would get a B on an assignment. And he was right. The coursework in high school is more demanding, and (unfortunately) the teachers are as well. Even before you enter, everyone expects high quality from your work and even greater maturity from your deportment, and frankly, you don’t expect something that intense to be thrown at you on day one.
But this is Charter, where anything probable is possible, and thrown at us it was. On Day 1 of English, Ms. Chandler gave us a grammar pre-test, and on Day 3, she gave us the writing pre-test. And about half a month later, Satalino the Great said the magic words: loose leaf. Immediately upon arrival, you learn that you need to expect the unexpected, know the unknown, and bear the unbearable. You need to grow up and face what the world is throwing at you; if you don’t, you will die. That, of course, is easier said than done when you begin your high school journey in a relatively unknown, unfriendly environment. At the beginning of the year, you really don’t know half your classmates well. You enter class for the first time, look around, and find a silent sea of unfamiliar faces all staring rather shiftily at you and at each other. Then maybe a day later, you lock eyes with someone in the hall, think frantically which class you have with them, and just pass by, silently and expressionlessly.
However, as time begins to trickle by, little by little, everyone’s guards start to come down slowly and steadily, and the freshmen begin to talk with each other and make connections. I came from a school where not many of friends came to Charter; of those that did, almost none were in any of my classes. It was nerve-wracking at first, having no one I knew around me. However, as I grew more confident and began talking with other people, I found that I had made quite a lot of new friends from a lot of different backgrounds.
That is the true beauty of the freshman year. Everyone starts out as strangers to each other, constructing fences around themselves in order to hide. But as you start branching out more and becoming more extroverted, you find one day that those walls have crumbled to ruins and that your whole class is one giant “family” (albeit a very complexly related one). I think it was that sense of camaraderie which made this year so memorable. We decorated our hallway together (we deserved second place), we screamed together at the fall and winter pep rallies (I bet we were a lot more hype than anyone expected), and in general, we had a great time making memories with each other this whole year.
Yes, high school is tough, and at first it is difficult to try to fit in not only with the higher grades, but also with your classmates. However, high school is also one of the most memorable times in your life; you get to obtain a plethora of new knowledge and skills, you get to enjoy new experiences (like Homecoming, which I recommend everyone go to at least once), and best of all, you get to make and hang out with a lot of new friends, some of whom will last a lifetime. I’ve really enjoyed my freshman year; it was the toughest experience of my life so far, but I think it was and will be definitely worth it. Thank you to the Charter School of Wilmington for accepting me into a place where I could meet and interact with the great people only found here. Thank you to my teachers who taught me some valuable life lessons and made class enjoyable (even though they did give me too much work). Finally, thank you to my freshman class for making my first year at Charter fun, memorable, and altogether marvelous. I look forward to sharing our next three years of high school together and graduating as the Class of 2020! Go Force!
Anthony Lee, Class of 2020