by Chandini Antal
So, you’ve entered 9th grade, it’s a lot different from the middle school, and you might feel like you’ve just been thrown in with no warning. Hopefully this guide can help make your transition run a little more smoothly.
- Freedom/Dress Code
In the middle school, they give you little to no freedom, always telling you what to do and when to do it; they control everything down to the color of your socks. But in the upper school they really don’t care what you wear as long as you look okay, and don’t wear slippers or violate the dress code too badly. In my orientation, we kept asking random questions like “what type of water bottle can we have?” or “what color socks should we wear?” The teachers’ answers were always “It doesn’t matter to me.”
- Free Periods
During your free periods, you can do whatever you want. No one is watching after you and telling you what you should be doing. There is no asking whether you can use your laptop or get something from your locker, you just do what you want as long as you’re not disruptive. Take advantage of your free periods and do homework; typically students go to the learning commons or hang out in the student center to get their work done.
- The Student Center
If you’re not sure what the student center is, it’s the place where all the lockers are. When I first started 9th grade I had no idea what the student center was, even when I was just standing in it. The dean’s office is the first office you see when walking up the stairs- the doors are always open, so you can’t miss it. You can stop in to talk to your dean, or you can get random school supplies when you need them. They have hole punches and staplers for you, so you don’t have to wander around the building hunting for them.
For the first few weeks of school lunch is complete chaos. There are people everywhere, you can’t find your friends, and the lunch line is incredibly long. After a few weeks, everyone finds where they are sitting and it’s all okay. A few ways to avoid the long lines are go down to lunch early, or sit and wait until the lines go down.
At the beginning of freshman year, your class size pretty much doubles. Our grade got 37 new kids and that meant 37 new faces to talk to and get to know. It can be pretty intimidating on both ends. Something I didn’t expect is that the people you hang out with changes. You might not be friends with everyone you were with last year- and that’s okay. It happens. It’s a good thing too because you get to meet so many amazing people. By 9th grade people also stop caring about what others are doing- it’s much less dramatic than the middle school because everyone just keeps to themselves. It’s not like the movies where everyone is mean to each other. There aren’t really cliques. Yes, there are groups of people who hang out with a certain group, but everyone is pretty much friends with everyone, so you can hang out with whoever you want.