Four years’ difference

Seniors and freshmen compare the hardest part of their year.

Four years can change a lot. Beards sprout, limbs stretch, late-nighters become a common occurrence and open hours replace study halls. But the evolution of stress over the handful of years spent wandering these hallowed halls is a mystery. That’s what the WSS set out to investigate.

Misha Canin ’22.

What ails the freshmen? For the most part, it’s the homework load. “The hardest part of my year so far has been the sheer amount of homework,” said Renee Gould ‘22. “I normally end up with two or three HOURS of work, the bulk of it is actually from Spanish, and I’m taking normal Spanish II, not honors.” Misha Canin ‘22 agreed. “In addition, the layout of the building baffles and burdens them. “As a freshman, I’m not 100% sure [what the hardest part of freshman year has been so far], but probably getting used to the size of the school,” said Tony Wang ‘22. “Running from one end to the other for classes. You know the Spanish II Honors classroom? 236? I have to go to band after that.” Gould concurred. “I’ve ended up having a hard time with learning my way around. I can get to my classes, but I’m still unsure of where the health office, office, guidance counselors, and gyms are,” she said.

To combat this, the freshmen have suggested a number of solutions. To combat the stress of homework, Gould said, “Make use of ANY spare time you have, even if it’s just a few minutes. Studying and reviewing during lunch goes a long way, and make sure to have time to just relax.” Canin agreed. “I would say, from the very start, stay ahead on homework. Don’t get behind, don’t tell yourself you’re going to do it tomorrow or the next day or that you’ll do it over the weekend.” And to get used to the school layout, Wang advised self-guided exploration. “I would say spend a bit more time at registration, just figuring out how the school is laid out, so you spare some time looking for the rooms on the first week or something.”

Maddy Thompson ’19.

And while the stressful calamity of junior year is behind the seniors, new problems have arisen to take its place. For instance, the onset of senioritis is a big issue. “I’ve gotten all my credits done, so I could’ve graduated, so getting the motivation to do classes that I don’t necessarily like but I need to do like pre-calculus and stuff [has been the hardest part of my senior year],” said Maddy Thompson ‘19. “It’s really hard to find the motivation to study and do the complete work, compared to junior year or sophomore year.” To combat this, she suggested choosing more engaging classes. “Take classes that genuinely interest you,” she said. “If you like art, do art. If you like theatre, do theatre. Don’t force yourself into classes that you think you need for the entire day because then you can’t find something to look forward to, and it makes the days a lot longer to get through.”

Another issue for seniors is that senior year tends to be one of the busiest years: many seniors hold jobs and participate heavily in extracurriculars in addition to doing their regular schoolwork. That is the case for Eddie Wilson ‘19. “School is fine and all, because it’s just from eight-fifty to four,” he said. “But once you mix in homework, that’s maybe an hour or two on top of that, then once you get to work, that’s also another four hours. I’d start school at eight-fifty, then go to school until four. Then, once I got home, I’d go to work until nine-thirty, and then I’d work on homework and go to sleep. But it’s pretty difficult.” He advised future seniors to sign up for open periods. “Just give yourself some room to breathe,” he said. “It’s really helped me that I have two free periods to do my thing, because then I can get most of my homework done before work. Then I get at least a little bit of time in between going to sleep and working.”

Eddie Wilson ’19.

While it is important to take all the required classes, it also pays to take a lot of fun classes, get involved in extracurriculars, and make time for oneself. High school is part of life, and life is meant to be lived, to be experienced and to be enjoyed. Above all, find happiness in the high school experience.