Learning Lessons from Upperclassmen

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Lexus Gruszka

With the return of freshmen and sophomores to the cafeteria, juniors and seniors now model appropriate behaviors.

Lexus Gruszka, Scribe Reporter

When I was an incoming freshman I knew what was expected of me. Don’t walk in packs in the hallway. Don’t pick silly fights with upperclassmen. Be respectful to your teachers. But most importantly, don’t make it seem like you are a freshman. 

As underclassmen, we knew where we stood in the high school food chain. We were the prey, upperclassmen were the predators, and we had to respect that. I remember patiently waiting to be a junior and senior that ruled the school. Yet, as a senior now, underclassmen act as if they have all the authority in the world.

In 2021, schools resumed in-person learning, and thousands of students returned to school after two years. Sophomores and juniors barely had high school experience, and freshmen haven’t been in since they were in grade school. A moment in life that they got to experience what it was like to be apex predators in that environment. Although we might assume that the lack of experience would terrify the underclassmen in this new environment called High School, it did the complete opposite. 

The absence of the social hierarchy became prevalent within the High School. From pure observation, I’ve noticed that poor mannerisms and attitudes towards adult figures have increased massively. A proportion of underclassmen have been known to talk back to teachers, create chaos by goofing off, purposely skip class, or refuse to do any of their classwork. Many of these mannerisms can be explained due to the pandemic quarantine making the isolation prevent maturing. Overall, it prevents underclassmen from learning the norms for SHS, like the importance of school spirit, becoming involved in the school community, and overall working towards life after high school. 

However, upperclassmen also can be at fault for not re-establishing the social structure. Due to the separation of underclassmen and upperclassmen during the first semester due to LIFT and Advisory, interactions between each other has been low. There is no need to interact with each other unless placed in the same location together. Therefore, upperclassmen were prevented from taking ownership and responsibility for certain high school obligations, like school spirit, expectations, and more. 

 Freshman and sophomores are now able to each lunch in the Cafeteria with the upperclassmen. With this new change in SHS, upperclassmen are now able to model appropriate socializing in the environment once again.

The forcing of underclassmen in the cafeteria is not their fault and it should be seen as an opportunity for upperclassmen to take back this responsibility. According to Dawid Wasniowksi, a freshman at SHS, “Being in the cafeteria is more fun, we have more space to sit with friends, and there is better food.” Since underclassmen are happy to be in the cafeteria, they will likely learn what it takes to stay there and enjoy the space.  Freshmen and Sophomores can learn what it is like to be in a normal environment with upperclassmen who will slowly teach them their place in the pyramid. It also gives the chance to look up to the Juniors and Seniors.

The social order must be re-establish within the high school. The benefits that would follow would help our overall education.  The reinforcement of school spirit will make SHS a stronger community that unites when it’s needed. The level of respect toward adults will increase, causing a better relationship with teachers, which will make learning fun. Most importantly, high schoolers must be able to recognize that the pecking order will always be around in life. 

Learning one’s place in the world is not an easy thing. As a freshman, I gained many upperclassmen friends who taught me the importance of working hard, the significance of being involved, and the responsibility that comes with being an upperclassmen. For now, it’s all about patience, commitment, and responsibility from freshman to senior year. 

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