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The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

Finding the right balance

Finding+the+right+balance

The Red Ledger recently conducted a survey asking students about the classes they were taking. After reviewing the data and taking into account other considerations, The Red Ledger selected what it thought was the hardest sophomore, junior, senior, elective, and overall hardest class on campus. With no clear hardest class for freshman, The Red Ledger decided to discuss the transition to high school. Every Monday for the next two months, a new story will be released revealing what was selected as the hardest class for each grade.

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Moving from middle school to high school is a challenge that all freshman students face, with time management skills being one of the most difficult to master.

“The hardest transition for freshman is learning how to balance everything,” Pre-AP Biology teacher Theresa Dollinger said. “Balancing the homework, balancing the classes, balancing social life and extracurricular activities and still being able to sleep is tough.”

With time, though, many freshmen are able to find the right balance.

“Usually, by Thanksgiving break most of them get the hang of how to balance everything, but then exams hit and they start to freak out again because the exams are weighted differently in high school than middle school,” Dollinger said.

Most freshmen agree that the most prevalent change is the sheer magnitude of homework they receive.

“There’s way more homework in high school,” freshman Hannah Nichols said. “I have to study about an hour and a half each night.”

When applying for colleges, students send their final transcript from the end of junior year, which makes their freshman year grades worth one-third of the Grade Point Average (GPA) colleges see from prospective students.

“We also have to worry about making sure our grades are good for college,” Nichols said.

However, some freshmen do not make the connection between their current grades and their high school transcript until much later in the year.

“Ninth graders have a hard time worrying about how their grades right now are going to affect their GPA, because it’s so far in the future,” Dollinger said. “Once first semester grades come out though, a light bulb usually comes on and they realize that these grades are going to help them get into college and they look at their class and realize what, if anything, they need to change.”

Another difference that freshman must learn to handle is finding time for sports and other extracurricular activities while keeping their grades up.

“Sports are a lot bigger time commitment now than they were in middle school, too, so I have to learn to budget my time better,” freshman Cody Cummings said.

Math, typically one of the more difficult subjects for high school students, tends to lead the pack when freshman discuss their more difficult courses.

“Geometry’s probably my hardest class so far,” Nichols said.

However, that is not true for all students.

“Geometry is my most time consuming class, but I think that English and Biology are a lot harder,” Cummings said.

Teachers in high school, as opposed to middle school, often require their students to be more proactive with staying on top of their work, which leads to mixed feelings from students.

“My favorite part of high school is probably all the extra freedom I have,” Cummings said. “But if I was giving advice to current middle school student I would tell them to make sure they don’t fall behind because of that freedom, because it’s hard to catch back up.”

High school students are also expected to be more engaged with their teachers and have more involved interactions.

“Communication with teachers is incredibly important, and up until now it’s usually been the parents that are doing all that communication with teachers,” freshman counselor Lance Hendrick said. “At the high school level, it’s important for the students to stay on top of their work when they miss classes for absences and just connect with teachers.”

Anticipating the common struggles of many  freshman students, school counselors engage the students in workshops to try and introduce them to possible solutions to potential problems.

“We do a lot of freshman programming at the beginning of the year to try and prepare them for high school,” Hendrick said. “We have the freshman orientation week where we familiarize them with different people on campus that are here to help them, like me and the rest of the counselors. We stress organization and prioritizing time and simple, yet crucial, time management skills.”

Overall, high school demands more of students when compared to middle school, and that can be a big adjustment for some freshman.

“Everything seems to step up a notch once you get into high school,” Hendrick said. “The rigor of the classes is much tougher, and sports practice longer hours and expect more of the players, and all the other extracurricular activities require more of a time commitment, as well. Freshmen have a lot more things to do and a lot less time to do them, but we’re here to support them and to make sure they figure it out.”

Check back next Monday to see what The Red Ledger declared as the hardest sophomore level class. 

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About the Contributor
Samantha Wendt, Managing Editor
Initially, the legendary snack cabinet and promise of courtside Mavericks tickets lured Senior Samantha Wendt to the newspaper class. Wendt enjoys experimenting with dessert recipes, and sometimes spends upwards of 6 hours making a decadent dessert. Even more than food, Wendt worships the Dallas Mavericks. She idolizes NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki, and knows every single statistic and happening within the Mavericks organization. In the 1st grade Wendt alternated between studying the biographies of the first 42 US Presidents and learning Russian. In 4th grade, she progressed to mapping out the rest of her life; she decided to travel to every single country in the world for a year after college, become a spy for the President, take a bullet in the leg for the President which would led to her subsequent two-term election, and become a college professor until she dies. Now, Wendt has made her life plan more achievable, and aspires to join the FBI.

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    AnonymousFeb 4, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    While it is nice to see what the freshman think is the hardest class, I hope that there will be future articles about the other grades.

    Reply