What’s Cool About High School

Written by: Gabrielle

Edited by: Erich

Visual by: Nicholas

Every year, the ISM high school community welcomes a new batch of vibrant and eager grade 9 students. This year’s freshmen are entering high school minted with a special place in ISM history—they are the first batch to start high school face-to-face ever since the pandemic started. 

The transition from middle school to high school tends to be intimidating to a lot of freshmen, especially for those who have preconceived notions of high school. For many, there exists a pressure to both fit in and stand out. 

While some are simply navigating their way through new courses and exploring activities that suit their interests, others are already feeling stressed by impending exams, and even anticipating college applications that won’t be due until years down the road. This is understandable, as there is an evident jump in academic expectations and class rigor coupled with a heavier workload, but it also offers overwhelming new opportunities such as new leadership roles, IASAS, and engaging classes. 

One of the freshmen, Henry, takes AP Human geography, Spanish 4, Programming, Design Tech, and Math and English honors. He shares that “The hardest part is the homework, there’s a lot more homework and it’s a lot more difficult.” Which may be a common concern amongst all freshmen, as fellow batchmate, Daksh, agrees that “the work can be a lot.” 

Freshman year also signals the beginning of AP classes for many students, particularly for those, like Henry, taking AP Human Geography. “The reason I joined an AP class was because I got all 7s last year in Social Studies, and wanted a challenge,” Sebe (9) explains, further adding that he’s  “excited, but paranoid about the classes being harder.” “It’s not that hard. Some people are stressing a lot, definitely not us,” Daksh comments. “I like that there’s more responsibility. It’s helpful, because it gives me more control in how well I do” says Henry. 

Mrs. Govier, the Freshman grade level coordinator, advises the students to “have fun and enjoy the year. Don’t stress about your classes and the workload. Make the most of the co-curricular opportunities such as sports, the arts, the variety of clubs, and all the exciting events we’ve got planned.”

The batch of 2023, ISM’s current seniors, is the most recent batch to have experienced the start of high school in person, before the pandemic. When asked about his biggest recommendation to freshmen, Jagat, one of the seniors, mentions “don’t restrict yourself to boundaries. Don’t limit yourself to what you want to study and pursue. Keep yourself open to what you want to explore.” 

Similarly, fellow senior Madeleine adds that “High school goes by very quickly, so branch out and try new things while you have the freedom to do so!” Further expanding, she notes that  “everyone is different, what is manageable or even beneficial for some may be detrimental to others.” 

Lara, another senior, recommends to “study smart (not hard), and make sure to make time for yourself to wind down, relax, and do things you enjoy. When you lose motivation, it’s hard to find it back sometimes.”  “Know how to prioritize school, because everything will pay off,” Marielle (12) 

To quote Mrs. Govier, “Support your peers! Everyone is new to high school, but some people might find the transition a little more tricky than others.” Welcome to HS, Freshmen, and have a great school year ahead!