Even though some would rather forget that it ever happened, almost everyone remembers their first days of freshman year. The inescapable butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling upon first walking through the front door, the terrifying walk to first bell, and the voice in the back of your mind reminding you to lay low – you’re at the bottom of the totem pole now.
Most students have something they wish they would’ve known on their very first day of high school, whether it’s the location of Mrs. Feldkamp’s English I class, or just knowing that there would be grade-school friends to sit with at lunch.
“I wish I would have known more people,” junior Mitchell Bloemer said. “In high school, everything is different. There’s no homeroom like in middle school, and you have a whole different group every time you switch classes, so it’s harder to get to know people.”
Bloemer went on to tell The Milestone about how extracurricular activities during his first year lead to lasting friendships. “Freshmen year I ended up joining the swim team and Service Club, and became very active in McNick’s theatre program, so I met a ton of other students. Some of my closest friends actually are students at McNick who I met during my freshmen year!”
High-school academics have the tendency to take incoming freshmen by surprise more than anything. Sophomore Alana Osterday commented on the difference between her freshman year at McNicholas and 8th grade year.
“I wish I would have known how much more work we were going to have to do in high school, and how much more pressure there would be.” Osterday said. “Freshman year is such a big jump from 8th grade, but there’s so much more freedom to do what you want, so it’s worth the extra work.”
Senior Mark Boehm, on the other hand, mentioned that though the classes are tougher, senior year is something to look forward to.
“Sure, I wish I would have known that it gets more difficult as the years progressed. But trust me, it’s all worth it in the end!” Boehm said.
Schoolwork aside, many students agreed that above all, they were worried about making friends and adjusting to a brand new environment. The building itself can even be overwhelming to students who are used to smaller schools – former St. Andrews student and current freshman Salvatore Marino remarked that it took him some time to adapt to the size of the school.
“Honestly, I just wish I would have known where the restroom was more than anything!” Marino joked.
Freshman Christopher Wells, along with a majority of students in Mrs. Dill’s French I class reported that their overall anxieties about the first day came from a social standpoint. Making new friends and staying in touch with those from grade school can seem a bit much to the average freshman, but after a full semester of high school, many were glad to report that they’ve found their niche at McNicholas.
“I wish I would have known that I was going to find a group that I’d fit in with,” Wells said, acknowledging a group of his classmates, “and that I was going to find people who accept me for who I am!”