The Student News Site of The American School in Japan

HANABI

The Student News Site of The American School in Japan

HANABI

The Student News Site of The American School in Japan

HANABI

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From Middle School to High School: The Class of 2027’s Story

Freshmen+cheering+during+a+class+competition+
Freshmen cheering during a class competition
Reading Time: 3 minutes

High school—the final frontier. The end of our K-12 journey. The place we imagine to be like the movies. Just the idea of becoming a high schooler conjures a mix of both excitement and nervousness. 

We’re sure you remember your high school transition. Maybe it was recently, maybe it was decades ago. Well, this transition is one that we, the Class of 2027, have just gone through firsthand. So how do different people in the ASIJ community view this pivotal transition, and is high school living up to all the hype?

While the Class of ‘27 didn’t officially enter high school until last September, our transition began much earlier. 

In middle school we had time to grow, learn more about ourselves, and dive into our interests. And in eighth grade, nervousness set in as we realized that high school was soon approaching. Everyone had different ideas of what high school would be like, but asking high schoolers about their experiences did little to comfort us due to the sheer variety of answers we received. Some hated it. Some said it was too stressful. Others said it was one of the most interesting and fun times in their lives. With such an uncertain future ahead, were we being properly prepared?

Eighth-grade math and advisory teacher Mx. Lewis said that, in their tenure at ASIJ, preparations for high school have shifted from an academic focus to a social-emotional one. In eighth grade advisory, more connections between students and counselors as well as between middle schoolers and high schoolers are created, which helps students adjust socially. Mx. Lewis said that although stress is inevitable, there should be more of an emphasis on excitement for high school. The transition should be viewed as a simple change in grade level rather than a daunting shift between school divisions. 

Once we began our freshman year, however, any preconceptions we held had to make way for the realities of high school. 

In a series of surveys we sent out to freshmen, we received a wide range of responses to questions about their high school experience so far. 

Despite the variety of responses, some distinct patterns began to emerge. For many, it took from three months to a semester to feel fully adjusted to high school life. However, almost 80% of respondents expressed that, despite a few bumps along the way, the transition ended up being quite smooth. 

Some of the biggest challenges, respondents said, were the increased workload, time management, and organization. More than 90% of survey respondents said that they feel far more pressure from the different grading system, too.

In high school, assignments carry significantly higher expectations, with much less time allotted. Many freshmen got hit with a few bad grades at the beginning of the year, which indicated the rigor of this jump. One student said that they wished the increase in the number of grading standards was more gradual, while another said that it was tough to wrap their head around the concepts of majors, minors, letter grades, and GPAs. 

With time, we learned to adjust to these initial changes, thanks to supportive friends and teachers who were there at every step. These support systems, including fellow freshmen going through the same transition and others in the ASIJ community, helped us find a sense of belonging, especially in the crucial first few weeks. 

With these adjustments came new opportunities as well. The overwhelming response to what is the most favorable aspect of high school? Freedom. 

Added kiosk privileges, free blocks, and the ability to decide one’s own path are what set high school apart from middle school. High school is arguably busier, but a lively, exciting kind of busy. Every day is a surprise here. With class competitions, clubs, and cross-grade interactions, there is never a dull moment. It’s common to hear that high school is crazily stressful but exhilaratingly fun at the same time. Can those coexist? Our class has proven that it can. 

We asked the dean of student life, Mr. Nelson, about his view of the transition process into high school. He commented that freshmen often have a “silly infectious energy,” making things fun while adding to school spirit—which he wishes we would hold onto for longer. “You don’t have to have your life all figured out in high school,” he said. 

When it comes to the class of 2027 specifically, Mr. Nelson said that we came in with a “competitive spirit, diverse talents, and the ability to build connections across grade levels.” In his eyes, this year’s transition was a success.

So, does high school live up to all the hype? For many of us, yes. This transition was the start of a new chapter, one that we as a class will experience together. Now, it’s up to us, the class of 2027, to make the most out of the next three and a half years, creating a high school experience that can live up to our childhood dreams.

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About the Contributors
Koyo Odagari
Hi, I'm Koyo! I'm a freshman and this is my 12th year at ASIJ. I was born in Los Angeles, California, but I've lived in Tokyo pretty much all my life. I enjoy playing the violin, participating in Model UN, and taking the train to explore Japan. As a member of Hanabi, I hope to write from the unique perspective we share as students attending an international school.
Meredith Michels
Hi I'm Meredith, and I'm currently a freshmen. I'm Swiss-American and lived in Switzerland until moving to Japan three years ago. I like theater, speaking, guitar, and I'm always open to try new things.

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