To seniors, the layout of WJ is as simple as pie and they are already preparing themselves to leave and head to college. On the other hand, the new freshmen have undergone many large changes. WJ is much bigger than previous schools that freshmen have attended with over 2,000 students. Every new student adjusts differently, but the teachers, administrators and some upperclassmen can help make this adjustment easier.
Freshman Ellie Quinn is in the APEX program and is on the JV field hockey team. Quinn took math class in the morning at WJ last year, making her transition to the bigger school easier.
“I already had a tiny taste [of WJ], so it was pretty easy to make the transition this year. The school is relatively easy to navigate, the only trouble I have is remembering what floor my classes are on,” Quinn said.
WJ holds certain events such as the freshman picnic and freshman orientation to allow the freshmen to meet new people and prepare for the start of high school.
“The orientation was definitely helpful because it gave me a sense of the layout of the school so I didn’t feel as overwhelmed on the first day,” Quinn said.
Unlike Quinn, freshman Zacky Meyers did not attend the freshman picnic, but got all of the information he needed from a different source.
“I didn’t prepare much [for the first day] because my two older brothers, who graduated from WJ, told me almost everything I needed to know,” Meyers said.
One of the biggest fears that freshmen have are the upperclassmen; they are intimidating and sometimes not very nice.
“For the most part I respect the superiority [of the upperclassmen]. it feels like having upperclassman friends is something to be proud of,” Quinn said.
Meyers is a member of the varsity golf team, so he has gotten to know many upperclassmen.
“The upperclassmen are nice; they have really helped welcome me to the school,” Meyers said.
Janelle Ryan, an English teacher with five freshmen classes, thoroughly enjoys teaching freshmen.
“I find freshmen to be inquisitive learners who are motivated to do well as they begin their high school careers,” Ryan said.
The freshmen have so much to learn, and teachers, such as Ryan, not only teach them English but also give them high school advice.
“Many freshmen are rather quiet and shy when they first come to Walter Johnson because it’s a huge school and everything is new. It’s nice to see them come out of their shells, to see them get involved and find their voices and their niche,” Ryan said.
Each and every freshman has his or her own opinion about what will be the scariest aspect of freshman year.
“[I think] the worst part will be being the shortest in the hallways and the tough workload with classes like AP government,” Meyers said.
On the other hand, freshmen are extremely excited about what is to come in their time in high school.
“I’m most excited for Pep rallies and all the dances and the typical high school stuff in general, because all of this is so new to me,” Quinn said.