By Zuha Jaffar

We were kings. Now we’re freshman. This phrase has carved itself in my brain ever since school started. For eight years, I had been attending an extremely small school with only eighteen kids in my class. Everyone had already known each other for years and we could overcome whatever was thrown at us. I felt safe and sheltered in my environment. That school was like another home to me, and we were the oldest kids in school. We were allowed to do things we had never done before and trusted with a lot more. We were kings. I’d always been that kid who secretly loved going back to school after the summer. I loved being with my friends and forcing myself to think. Unfortunately, I had to face the reality of going to a completely new high school that was going to be bigger than anything I had ever experienced. And just like facing any big change, I was excited, but utterly terrified.   

I was scared for a number of reasons. Being a freshman already made me feel small, but being a new freshman was even worse. So far, these first few weeks have been a blur, especially with trying to figure out which room my classes are in and avoid bumping into the older kids. I actually walked into the wrong classroom on my first day of school. I wasn’t sure if my teachers would like me and if I would like them. Would they yell at me over small things? But, I saw the older kids talking to the teachers like they were friends, and I immediately knew that they couldn’t be that bad. However, even if I could get past all of this, making friends was going to be the biggest challenge (at least for me). There are 96 girls in my class. I thought I could be friends with the other new girls, but it’s been extremely hard to find them and actually find time to get to know them. People would already have their close friend groups and I feel like I would be invading them. Getting good grades was at the top of my worries as well. I knew this wasn’t middle school, I knew that things really mattered now and my classes would be harder. My homework load would grow and there would be quizzes every week. The whole system would be very different and my classes would hold more people. Everything about my new school confused me, and my confusion increased along with the stress. I wish I could’ve been less negative about starting at a new school, but I couldn’t help it. The very thought of going to school had created knots in my stomach.  

Fortunately, I can navigate HB now, and I can get to my classes on time. My teachers have been nothing but kind to me and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. I’ve made new friends, and though I had to step out of my comfort zone to do so, I’m glad I did. Being in a new environment was petrifying and sometimes still is, but it’s also exciting and filled with tons of opportunities I’ve never had.   I wouldn’t be held to just one thing, I could do as much as I wanted. This school is great, and I couldn’t be more content to go here. So despite my fears, I feel really lucky and excited to be here.