Seniors vs. Freshmen: One semester down, one semester to go

On Aug. 13, 2018, freshmen entered VHHS for their first day as high schoolers. That same day, the senior class of 2019 entered the same building for their last first day.

The end of this semester, marked by winter break, represents the completion of the very first semester in high school for the freshmen and only one semester left for seniors.

Walking in, freshmen had little to no idea what to expect coming into high school. Now, four months later, they are still relatively new.

After freshmen spent three years learning how to function in a middle school, coming into high school, they are forced to start over.

“[High school] is a pretty big adjustment,” Anika Urbonas (9) said.

The workload and classes tend to be a very big change to freshmen. The introduction of AP courses can be overwhelming at first.

“Harder classes…have been a jump in type of work and workload,” Charlie Lemme (9) said. “AP classes have been the hardest [part].”

Becoming a senior comes with a new status as well as a familiarity with high school .

“I enjoy being a senior,” Ashley Budziak (12) said. “It’s different because I feel a lot older, and I know my way around high school.”

As students continue through their high school careers, new opportunities are opened. Most seniors have the ability and freedom to try different types of classes.

“I have been able to take a lot more electives and more fun classes that I never had time to take in the past,” Budziak said.

Although many freshmen have not had the same opportunity yet, they still recognize and appreciate the option. It is a part of the attraction of moving up into high school.

“[I’m looking forward] to all the different types of classes I’m able to take,” Lemme said.

Final exams are a part of the end of every semester. By the time senior year arrives, it is nothing new. For freshmen, though, no precedent has been set to prepare them for final exams.

“I’m nervous [about finals],” Alan Sogolov (9) said. “I’m scared of the length of them.”

Most seniors have the opportunity to exempt from finals in certain classes if they have earned an A, a benefit that allows them to maintain their grades, focus on other classes and enjoy some free time.  

“I don’t have to take a final for four classes. I’m really excited for that,” Natalia Palafox (12) said.

The possibility of not taking a final provides a goal to work for in certain classes.

“I really like this benefit because it helps me to stay motivated to get an A in the class,” Budziak said.

After six semesters of taking final exams, the task becomes routine and is no longer as daunting.

“For some finals I still do get nervous, but not as much as I did freshmen year…I don’t feel as stressed,” Budziak said.

The end of this semester means that seniors have completed ⅞ of their high school lives, while on the other end, freshmen are only ⅛ of the way through.

“It’s crazy to think I only have one semester left,” Budziak said. “It’s kind of unreal. It doesn’t feel like high school’s almost over.”

For freshmen, the idea of already being finished with an entire semester can have a similar effect, despite being on the opposite end of the spectrum.

“It’s scary to think we’re ⅛ of the way closer to being done [with high school],” Sofia Gonzalez (9) said.