Falcon freshmen adjust to new high school norms


(Photo by Bryan Aung)

Freshmen, a group generally misunderstood and one that undergoes change throughout high school. Their class reputation also acts as a burden in the high school world. But, there is more than what meets the eye to their greyish-blue lanyards and often flamboyant personalities. 

Students’ freshman year serves as a learning initiation, watching and observing their older peers as they cruise through the halls. Often, the transition from middle school to high school catches them by surprise and overwhelms them with unexpected experiences.

Freshman Riley Harpert was excited about the newfound freedom in the High School.

“The biggest thing was how much more freedom I would have as a high schooler,” Harpert says. “I was really excited to have that freedom compared to middle school.” 

The school is also a new and confusing environment, the halls acting like large, complex labyrinths.

“Navigating around is hard, a lot more area to cover,” freshman David Williamson explains. “Unlike the elementary or middle schools, it’s a lot larger. It was just a lot to take in at once.”

Bullying was also a concern for Williamson, who thought Perry would reflect high school drama shows on television.

“I thought about how you see these TV shows where you see these big kids picking on the little boys,” he says.

Though he agrees bullying isn’t a large problem in Perry, he believes the classism toward freshmen remains solidified at the school, upperclassmen not looking past his freshmen tag. “People just assume,” he says.

The ever-present stereotype of the annoying freshman is usually over-exaggerated. The culture and personality of a certain freshman class dictate their behavior and development. 

Freshman Alex Filipowicz protests that upperclassmen are quick to judge, not taking time to look beyond his grey-blue lanyard.

“Freshmen do dumb stuff, and you get lumped in because everyone doesn’t take the time to know you,” he says.

Teaching freshmen is also often stereotyped, with the assumption that it is a burden. But English 9 teacher Natalie Friar explains it is not as tiring as one may think.

“Sometimes it can be really, really awesome, and sometimes it can be incredibly frustrating,” Friar explains. “Depending on the chemistry and makeup of who’s in your class, that can really determine what type of class it is.”

Friar also elaborates that final exams are difficult with freshmen, who are not accustomed to the rigor of the high school testing environment.

“They don’t know what’s about to hit them,” she says, “because they come from middle school, and finals aren’t an expectation there.”

Overall, the students’ experiences and responses vary but they all share a common theme: one of learning and change. A freshman’s first year in high school is almost always a lerning experience, as such their experiences feel surreal and movie-like.

“It’s a big building and everyone’s trying to figure out where they stack up,” says Filipowicz. “It’s like a movie almost.”