High school in the perspective of freshman, senior


Priya Gregerson

Freshman Vanessa Rubio (left) and senior Zia Rashed (right)

Priya Gregerson, Co-Editor

School is like a food chain, a constant cycle of climbing to the top only to plunge down back to the bottom. Eighth grade to freshman, senior to freshman, shark to minnow, minnow to shark. Growing up can be scary but has so much potential to be gratifying or enjoyable. Freshman Vanessa Rubio and Senior Zia Rashed are on opposite ends of this hedge.

“I always like the first few days of school because I get to make a lot of new friends and see all the people who are new to the school,” Rashed said. “It’s fun finding out who’s in your classes, seeing the new people to meet, thinking about new study groups for this year, what teachers can be your favorite, I just think all of that is so fun. I think this year will go really well. It’s scary because it’s finally the end, but I know it’s going to be really fun. There are so many things that I’m looking forward to this year like senior pictures and senior Sundays. It feels good being someone that some freshmen may look up to.”

Rashed said that all summer she was excited to start school because she realized that her and other seniors were finally going to be done with high school by the end of the year. She said the worst part is probably going to be filling out college applications but other than that she thinks it’s going to be a fun year. She wanted to share some advice to future seniors based on her experiences so far.

“You should start your college applications early in the summer so that you can really make the best of your senior year and you’re not that stressed out,” Rashed said. “If you start late on your college applications you’re going to be working late on your college applications which means you won’t have much time to enjoy your last year at Vandegrift. You should definitely start making friends with your teachers because those are who are going to make your college recommendations. The best advice I can give is to really branch out and make friends. It’s really important to make friends your senior year in all of your classes because a lot of us take really hard classes like AP classes, so it’s nice to be able to make study groups in those classes. It’s just good to meet as many people as you can your senior year so that if you’re going to college with students here, you’ll know more students at college.”

Rashed also thought back to her freshman year and how it differs from the present. She said that her freshman year was a lot different than her senior year.

“We all grow in the four year time frame,” Rashed said. “I think when you’re a freshman you’re not prepared enough, you’re fresh out of middle school and you don’t know enough about how high school really works. For me personally, I didn’t work hard my freshman year but I’m working very hard now. What I’ve seen from a lot of other people is that they started out working hard their freshman year and now they’re not working as hard anymore. I guess it can go both ways because for me I went low to high but for others they can go high to low.”

On the other side of this hedge, Rubio and other freshmen have a lot to learn about what is where and how to get there. She had to ask a few teachers for help to navigate the school. She checked the room number signs that directed her to each class. She also took a picture of her schedule sheet and set the photo as her phone wallpaper so she could have easy access to it.

“The first day of school was good but getting to my classes was difficult,” Rubio said. “It was definitely a new experience for me, since I just came out of middle school, but I did get the hang of it after a few days.”

Rubio said that she thinks this year will be a new challenge for her. There’s split A and B days instead of eight classes every day. There is also a lot more homework than she’s used to now, but she said that she thinks this year will be a good experience. She’s glad she can now be in the student section a football games, have a bigger selection of courses and electives and be more independent.

“I think this year will be a new challenge for me because we don’t have all of our classes in the same day,” Rubio said. “There’s a lot more homework now and there’s finals and everything. But I think it’s going to be a good experience with the student section at football games and the electives. It feels unreal just being called a freshman. I feel more mature than I did in middle school. I was talking to my friends a few days ago and we just can’t believe that we are really here.”

Every single student starts off as a minnow. During those years of growing, we evolve, we learn and we change. There’s not a single student who doesn’t go through it. That’s life, that’s the food chain.