Freshman First Impressions

Starting freshman year can be a scary transition for many. See how Liberty’s incoming freshman class has adjusted during their first days at Liberty.

Makayla Beachy, 9, and Harper Johnson, 9, in science class during the first week of school.

Makayla Beachy

Makayla Beachy, 9, and Harper Johnson, 9, in science class during the first week of school.

The first day of freshman year is definitely one of the most high-energy, anxiety-filled days of high school. Adjusting to an entirely new school building, class schedule, and group of people can be a difficult transition for many students. Not to mention, the new set of fears and worries high school can bring. It’s common for students to be stressed about homework, difficult classes, bullies, and relationships in high school. 

There are many differences between middle school and high school. In high school, students have more independence in choosing classes and activities at school. Classes can be more challenging with more work and effort required outside of school. 

“There is a lot more homework [in high school] than there was in middle school,” says Makayla Beachy, freshman.

High school can be more similar to junior high school than many of the freshmen expected.

“To my surprise, highschool is much like middle school besides the schedule change and Advisory and Liberty Time,” says Mia Eastman, freshman, “I thought high school teachers would differ from middle school teachers. Though I was worried they would be more uptight, I was happy to learn they are understanding, flexible, and available if I ever have any questions.”

The incoming ninth graders are the first class that has had two full years of in-person junior high school since the pandemic started. English teacher, Schyler Sterk, noticed that the incoming class of freshmen are more prepared for high school than last year’s ninth-grade class. 

“This year’s class of 9th graders having had eighth grade has actually helped a lot. Overall, phone usage has been better, and [also] listening and attention skills.” 

“To my surprise, highschool is much like middle school besides the schedule change and Advisory and Liberty Time. I thought high school teachers would differ from middle school teachers. Though I was worried they would be more uptight, I was happy to learn they are understanding, flexible, and available if I ever have any questions.” ”

— Mia Eastman

One of the most difficult parts of the transition to high school for freshmen has been figuring out the layout of the school building. It’s easy to get swept up in the bustling crowd during passing time or to get confused in the many long hallways. 

“Making sure I don’t get lost was my biggest issue the first week of school but I found friends from previous classes who were also in my next class and walked with them to make sure I didn’t get lost. I also made sure I knew which wing of the school I was in,” says Eastman.

Luckily if any freshmen do get lost, there are many helpful Lightning Leaders and upperclassmen around Liberty to help younger students navigate the school building. Many freshmen have noticed how welcoming the upperclassmen have been.

“The Lightning Leaders that I have will say ‘hi’ to me in the hallways,” says Beachy. 

Even teachers at Liberty have recognized how friendly the older students are to the freshmen. 

“The Lightning Leaders for sure [have been helpful] with new student orientation and even on the first day of school they were helping kids find their classrooms,” says Sterk.

While starting high school can initially be scary, there are many fun opportunities for freshmen to get involved at Liberty. The school offers many sports teams, art programs, and clubs for students to join. Participating in these activities can be a big part of the high school experience.

“I’m planning on [joining] jazz band and also jazz choir when the season rolls around. I’m also doing robotics, theater, and mock trial,” says Toby Schoon, freshman. 

These activities can help students meet others with similar interests and help develop a strong sense of community and belonging at Liberty.

Overall, this year’s freshmen have adjusted well to the new environment at Liberty. Settling into the new building, classes, and clubs has brought some challenges, but the ninth graders feel that they have been able to smoothly transition into high school.