Dropping in from middle school: freshmen discuss first year


Gabby Davids

Freshmen work hard in English class on a Romeo and Juliet MOCK Trial assignment. The end of the year allows for fun, culminating class activities.

Walking through the double green doors, a 9th grader’s first day at a new school feels a mix of excitement and nervousness that makes their stomach flip. Everyone has felt this before: the first year of high school.

The first year of high school is something almost everyone goes through. For some, it is fun, but for others, not so much. Especially when middle schools do not prepare students for the workload, the size and the everyday lifestyle of high school.

In Montgomery County Public Schools, there are 40 middle schools and only 26 high schools. This means that a lot of middle school rivals combine into one big crammed school. The two main middle schools that merge into Walter Johnson are North Bethesda and Tilden. In these schools, there are over 700 8th graders that will go into 9th grade at WJ. Every school year, WJ houses more and more students than the year prior. In the 2023-2024 school year, there will be over 3,000 students.

Middle school is supposed to challenge students and give them more responsibility in order to prepare them for high school, but in a poll given to the freshmen of WJ, 60.85% of the students believe that middle school did not prepare them adequately for high school.

“Middle school doesn’t really prepare you because it’s more of the core classes and the core classes are even focused on things you would learn in middle school. It kinda provides a foundation but it’s not as helpful as you would need in high school,” freshman Namuun Tugsjargal said.

A core class is described as the main and important classes you need to take in order to graduate. Middle schoolers are not given many options when choosing classes, but some could blame Covid for the lack of experiences for 8th graders.

“Be prepared for [an] overwhelming amount of work like, you’re not going to see this in middle school,” freshman Aman Patel said.

In addition to the struggles as a freshman, there are also many new experiences and fun memories to be made. Most of the freshmans’ favorite memories this year were the Friday night football games, Homecoming and most of all hanging out with new friends.

“Google search: how to survive high school after freshman year,” an anonymous freshman said.

To incoming freshmen, this is just the beginning of the next four years.