Old vs. New

by Grace Beedles

Already a month into the year, Freshmen are starting to feel all the pressures of high school, especially homework and making friends. Some freshmen have been able to manage the new workload while others have struggled, raising the question: Does being a returning student or a new student affect your transition in high school? I interviewed one returning student (Grace Amjad) and one new student (Alise Adornato) to explore how each of them are transitioning into high school after their 1st month at Hathaway Brown.

Alise Adornato

What school did you attend last school year?

“I went to St. Barnabas Catholic School.”

How do you feel about the all-girls environment since you came from a co-ed school?

“I don’t really feel the difference. I think it’s better without boys, I feel we’re all the same.”

How has the HB community been towards you?

“Welcoming. I feel like I’m assimilating well into the community. I don’t feel unwelcome because I have 47 other new people going through the same thing.”

Have been able to make many friends?

“Yes, I have met many of my friends through the fall sport I play, soccer. Also I have made friends with those who are in my mentor group and in my classes.”

How’s soccer going?

“Great! The JV team is 7-1-3 and we have a new coach. Her name is Alana “Lani” Smith. She is a Hathaway Brown alum, graduating in 2010. I like her because she is young and relatable.”

As a new student, was the transition easy or difficult?

“The transition was easy since I adapt well. My older sister, Veronica Adornato, answered any question I had. My mentor and class dean, Ms. Gordon, was amazing. She helped with whatever I needed. In addition, I’m one of two senate representative for the 9th grade.

What subject takes you the longest amount of time?

“History!! It takes me a long time to complete the notes.”

What subject takes you the shortest amount of time?

“Math at the moment. Currently, we are reviewing in class, so I know all the concepts for this unit.”

What has been the hardest thing to get used to at HB?

“Freedom. I like how during a free period that you can do what ever you want. Also, there isn’t much structure. At my old school, I had to walk in lines everywhere, now I just go from class to class any way I choose.”

Have you felt prepared for this school year?

“Yes, I feel prepared. I think because I have adapted to the new environment smoothly I haven’t had any major issues. Hathaway Brown isn’t harder than my previous school.”

How was your 1st homecoming?

“Fun! I didn’t go with a date, but I went in a group with my friends. We danced a lot and had a good time. The only thing I didn’t like was how hot it was inside the gym.”

What advice would you give to new incoming students?

“Be yourself. It’s okay to try new things. Don’t think you’re the only one who is nervous because everyone is a little nervous. Also, don’t let yourself be easily influenced; make your own choices so you don’t always have to rely on others.”

Grace Amjad

What school did you attend last school year?

“I went to Hathaway Brown. I came in 7th grade from Gesu Catholic School.”

Even thought you have been in the all-girls environment for 2 years now, how do you feel about it now that you are in high school?

“I both like it and dislike it. I like not having boys at school because you don’t feel obligated to look nice every day. Although I don’t like all-girls because you don’t get to meet as many boys.”

Do you think that the returning Hathaway brown students were welcoming to the new students?

“Overall, I believe most of the returning students were welcoming.”

Do you feel that you are starting over this year now that you have 48 other new students? Have you made more friends?

“Yes, I feel that now that we are in the Upper School everyone is starting over. I have made a new friend group.”

Do you play a fall sport? If so, how is it going?

“Yes, I play golf. I had never played before. I have just finished. I’m unsure if I’m going to play next year. The golf team had a new coach this year and we were also coached by a pro player.”

As a returning, student, was the transition easy or difficult? Does being a returning student give you an advantage over new students?

 “The transition was easy, but it’s definitely harder than middle school. I feel that I have an advantage because I knew my way around the school.”

What subject takes you the longest amount of time?

“English and History. It takes such a long time to read the chapters in the book we are studying in English. History the notes again take quite a long time.”

What subject takes you the shortest amount of time?

“Math. I learn math really well. It doesn’t take me long to understand the concepts. I feel I’m mathematically inclined.”

What has been the hardest thing to get used to at HB?

“Homework and class style. The homework is very time consuming. The class style is really different from the Middle School because in the Upper School we sit at conference tables instead of desks.”

Have you felt prepared for this school year?

“Yes. I felt overwhelmed when the year began, but now I’m better.”

How was your 1st homecoming?

“Fun! I went a group of friends.”

What advice would you give to returning students?

“Definitely play a fall sport because you can meet new people. Also, be welcoming and don’t be afraid to make new friends.”

Following the interviews, I think that whether you are new or a returning student doesn’t affect how you transition into high school. Both girls said they adjusted easily to Hathaway Brown and didn’t experience much trouble academically or socially. I believe it really depends on what type of person you are as well as the school’s environment. With the grade being 50% new, the environment was a definitely a change for both Grace and Alise. This new environment impacted both of them in different ways; While Alise didn’t feel like she wasn’t the only new person, Grace felt that she had an opportunity to meet new people. This shows that whatever your situation before freshmen year doesn’t play a role in how well you do in school. Overall, being either a new student or a returning student has its perks, but one isn’t better than the other.