The View From 9th Grade

You will get lost.

You won’t get stuffed in lockers.

Teachers will treat you like adults.  Show them you deserve it.

That’s some of the advice offered to Westport 8th graders, as they prepare to enter Staples.  It came from experts:  current freshmen, who just a year ago were in those middle schoolers’ possibly quaking shoes.

Panelists (from left) David Katter, Sam Weiser and Maddie Melnick.

Panelists (from left) David Katter, Sam Weiser and Maddie Melnick.

Six frosh dished out wisdom this afternoon at Barnes & Noble, as part of the weeklong Book Fair sponsored by Staples’ English department.

Among the tips:

  • There’s a lot of freedom.  It’s up to you to figure out when to study, and when to socialize in the cafeteria.
  • Talk to teachers.  You may not hit it off with all of them, but they’re there because they like kids.
  • It’s normal for smart students to suddenly be overwhelmed with work.  Don’t get discouraged or freak out.  You’ll get used to it.
  • If you don’t like a subject, don’t take an honors course just to say you did.
  • High school is where you figure out what you like and who you are, so experiment with courses and clubs.  Staples offers everything you can think of.
  • Everyone is as lost at first as you are.  But upperclassmen are friendly, because they’ve all been there before.  On the other hand, you’re a freshman so upperclassmen don’t really care about you.
  • If you feel overwhelmed after freshman orientation, don’t worry.  You’ll figure everything out pretty quickly.
  • Lock your gym locker.  Stuff gets stolen.
  • Bags may look better, but backpacks are much more efficient.
  • The transition is over-hyped.  It won’t take long before you feel at home.
  • You’re not in pods anymore.  Teachers don’t coordinate work with each other.  If you get overwhelmed, talk to your teachers.  They understand, and listen.
Panelists (from left) Lucy DeFlavio, Stevie Klein and Anna Link.

Panelists (from left) Lucy DeFlavio, Stevie Klein and Anna Link.

Oh, yeah.  Because this was a Book Fair, the freshmen offered ideas for summer reading.  Suggestions ranged from Into the Wild and My Sister’s Keeper to Much Ado About Nothing. One girl urged the 8th graders to challenge themselves, but admitted, “I tried Moby-Dick.  I had to put it down.”

Welcome to Staples!

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