New Year, Same Me?

By Daniel Singh ‘22

As a new year begins at Salesian High School, I can confidently say that I have been greatly blessed with the opportunity to attend such a great high school for another year. With each new year comes a variety of responsibilities, as well as benefits included in advancing another grade in one’s learning career. However, is there actually a significant contrast between freshman and sophomores other than the most obvious reasons, or do they act in the same way and have the same mannerisms as one another?

As a sophomore student at Salesian High School, there seems to clearly be multiple differences in the flow of the day, the level of challenge in the classes that I take, and the tolerance of the teachers and staff towards my class and me. A seemingly miniscule, yet impactful, thing that I had to adapt to was having a later lunch period in my schedule than the year prior to this. 

Previously, I would have two classes and then go to my lunch period at 11:28 A.M. However, now that I am a sophomore, I must take three classes before my lunch period, which begins at 12:14 P.M. Secondly, the classes that I take are significantly more challenging than the ones that I’ve taken last year. Some classes that I am taking include Chemistry Honors and Accelerated Algebra 2 and Trigonometry, courses that are usually taken by juniors. While these classes may be challenging, they are greatly beneficial and will help me along my journey to become the best and most accomplished student that I can possibly be. 

In addition to this, much more is expected of the sophomore class than what was put into place last year. This year, a new set of responsibilities have been given to the sophomore class and myself, as we have been in the building for an entire school year already and are expected to abide by the rules and regulations that have been in place by the Salesian staff. As a result of this, anyone who fails to abide by these laws will face stricter punishment, as they are expected to have full knowledge of what is and isn’t allowed in the school.

The high school decision making process is very different for every single person, as well as many of the experiences that occur in high school itself. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors all face different trials that they must overcome in order to have a successful year in high school. As underclassmen, freshmen must adapt to their environments and the new styles of learning. Additionally, the social aspect of high school is often overlooked, as these new students may face challenges in finding peers that they can associate with, along with activities to do within the school. 

Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to face these same issues, as my brother, who is now a senior at Salesian High School, ultimately paved the way for me so that my high school experience would be as smooth as possible. However, no matter how the first year of high school went for anyone, the second year is always different in some way, shape, or form. In the sophomore year of high school, which I have yet to fully discover, students are generally more confident in themselves, and seem to be well supported by the friendships that they have already established. That allows for, socially speaking, an easier year, as students have peers to rely on and enjoy the ever so quick days of high school.

While every student has their own story throughout each of their years in high school, some still say that there is virtually no difference between freshman and sophomore students other than their grade level and the classes that the take. One argument that could be used would be to say that freshmen and sophomores, as well as juniors and seniors, have to abide by the same rules in the school. Additionally, they may state that freshmen and sophomores essentially have the same mindset for things, as there is little to no difference in the development of these students. 

However, while these arguments are well structured and can be very convincing, they can also be proven incorrect. Firstly, while the same regulations usually apply to all students within the same high school regardless of grade, sophomores, along with other upperclassmen, are held to a higher overall standard than that of freshmen students. Sophomores and the grades above them already have experience with the curriculum, staff, and environment of the school, so they should have little to no problems following directions. 

Freshmen on the other hand, are given many more chances than other grades, as they have yet to discover high school. In addition to this, the mindsets of freshmen and sophomores greatly differ from one another. As a freshman, my goal was to establish myself as a high school student and adapt to the new stage of life that I was introduced to. However, as a sophomore, my goals are now to be the best student that I can possibly be, while also keeping in mind the colleges that I would like to attend and working towards acceptance into them. Essentially, my mindset has transformed, and I am now fixated on bigger and better goals for myself.

Although my sophomore year of high school has just begun, I feel as if the experiences that I have made over the past two years are enough to last me a lifetime. As a freshman at Salesian High School, I was introduced to a new life and the responsibilities that came along with it. Being a freshman was not easy though, as I often faced challenges inside of the classroom, along with challenges in sports and other occurrences completely separate from school.

My experiences as a sophomore differed greatly from those of which I experienced as a freshman. Throughout this year, I have been able to participate in a variety of activities, meet new students and teachers, and learn more about myself. These years have shown me that, while there is a clear difference between being a freshman and a sophomore, that isn’t anything to be afraid of. Each year provides new experiences and new opportunities to grow, allowing me to truly develop into the best person that I can possibly be.