The Student News Site of The American School in Japan


The Student News Site of The American School in Japan


The Student News Site of The American School in Japan


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Freshmen Face the Transition to High School, Upperclassmen Can Help

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Going from middle school to high school can be a scary and overwhelming change for students. Some may feel nervous about the workload, scared about the upperclassmen, or anxious thinking about SATs and college applications. So I wanted to take a deeper look into how the freshmen this year truly feel about their transition into high school – and how our community can make them feel better. 

In an anonymous survey sent out to freshmen, 75.5% of responders said that they felt very comfortable being in the high school atmosphere. 58.7% of the students also said that they felt very welcomed by the upperclassmen. On the other hand, more than 50% of the students felt as though the upperclassmen could be a little more helpful towards them. 

It’s important that upperclassmen make sure that the freshmen get as much support and guidance as possible, as the transition can be an extremely intimidating experience. Because the desire for more help came to my attention, I believe it is important for upperclassmen to take the initiative to make the freshmen feel confident in their high school experience. 

The first and most important thing upperclassmen can all do to help guide the freshmen is to befriend them. A simple “Hello,” or “How are your classes going?” can make them feel more open to communicating any struggles or concerns they’re facing and build a valuable inter-grade level connection. 

Although it may seem unnatural because of the stratification between grade levels, every student was once in their position and might have needed that same comfort. Initiating and starting conversations can allow the freshmen to inform upperclassmen about anything they are uncertain of or need help with. 

A common area of concern for some freshmen responders was the nature of their social life in high school. One said,”I’m not quite sure how being social works here, because outside of my small group, I don’t know what constitutes a good reason to connect with others outside of class.” 

Because ASIJ tends to be clique-y, it can be hard for some students to make new friends and expand on their friendships. We need to be more open-minded to creating connections and bonds with people, even if they aren’t in our friend group, or even in our grade. 

Another major concern was how they should pick future classes, and what determines if a class is right for them. The best way to know if a class is suitable is to give it a shot—classes can always be dropped within the first two weeks of a semester. Another way to know if a class is the right fit is by simply asking an upperclassman who has taken the class. 

However, it’s important for upperclassmen to remember that just because they may have liked or not liked a class, does not mean another student will as well. So simply stating what the class entails and the overarching pathway of the subject can allow the freshmen to make informed decisions and figure out their own interests. 

On the brighter side, the freshmen have enjoyed the freedom that the high school provides to students. Class competitions and free periods, two hallmarks of the high school experience, have been a welcome change. 

As the incoming freshmen continue their transition from middle school, upperclassmen should make use of their knowledge and experience to create an environment of openness and positivity for the newest members of the high school.

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About the Contributor
Olivia Saroukos, Writer
Hi! My name is Olivia Saroukos. I'm currently a senior and have been at ASIJ since 2018. I have grown up all over the world—in Sydney, South Korea, Switzerland, Singapore, and Tokyo—making me a third culture kid. I love cooking, listening to music, reading, watching movies and biking. As a student journalist, I write about both the ASIJ community and the world.

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