I checked my Timehop app the other day and there was an acne ridden, brace-faced, peace sign bearing girl grinning up at me. Instantly, I was transported back to seventh grade. (Why I ever chose to post this picture on Facebook in the first place is beyond me.)
I’ll be blunt: middle school was a rough time for me.
But I don’t think anyone can willingly look back and say that middle school was their prime. It’s
two years of awkwardness, uncertainty, and attempting to find your place. Math review sheets and social studies tests would stress me out. Write-ups sent a shiver down my spine. The bus was a genuine zoo. High schoolers seemed so old...and hairy.
The people who did think that middle school was their prime, probably ended up flipping burgers for a living. Or perhaps they grew up to only relive their middle school glory days. As a minimum, I bet many never progressed past their 8th grade mental state.
While we have all survived and moved on, I think we should treat the memories of middle school like the popularity of Silly Bandz; let them slowly disappear.
It’s the most common advice for incoming freshmen, but as the class of 2019 arrives at Mason High School, the number of new faces can cause uncertainty.
According to motivational speaker Chris Bowers, finding a niche can be simple, especially with the seemingly endless list of opportunities at MHS.
“The key is just to show up,” Bowers said. “Life is about showing up. Don’t let your insecurities that make you think people don’t want you around keep you from showing up.”
Incoming freshman Hiranya Atreya said the idea of getting involved is important.
“I want to get involved with Science Olympiad, French Honors Society, and the bowling team,” Atreya said. “I like the fact that we get to engage with different people and try to make new friends and be more social, but at the same time, (we) learn a lot.”
And with clubs and activities of all dimensions, students can do just that. For students with an interest in sports, MHS offers broomball, fencing, water polo, etc. For those with a creative side, film club, yearbook, art club, etc. are also available. Math team, Speech and Debate, Science Fair, etc. are offered for anyone who wants to take a more academic approach.
Upperclassmen associated with the SIBS (Students Involving and Befriending Students) program aim to make all students, especially freshmen like Atreya, feel welcome and open to engaging in activities at the high school. Each freshman homeroom is assigned a few SIBS who guide them through the year.
According to junior Ellie Harpen, the best part of being a SIB is seeing the students open up.
“My favorite part is when you get to see them (freshmen) when they’re having fun, being more comfortable with the high school and not so nervous,” Harpen said.
One major way that the school helps induct freshmen is with the Freshman Spirit Party, a pep rally that the SIBS lead. This year, the party took place on August 6; during the event, students were given the opportunity to see the school, meet with their homerooms and participate in peer-bonding activities.
The SIBS are instrumental to the event’s success, Bowers said.
“(SIBS) add the cool to the program,” Bowers said. “They give the fresh play on things. I was just a guy telling the freshmen to get excited, but they may not believe that. But when you have your peer group and older students going, ‘No, you’re going to like this,’ then it gives us the benefit of the doubt and people start to have fun.”