New year, new struggles, good changes

October 26, 2016 — by Alexandra Li and Jingyi Wang

Freshman struggles to adapt to new highschool environment.

As freshman George Bian returned home at 9 p.m. on Oct. 13, all he could think of was his inviting bed, adorned with his fluffy blankets and soft pillows. But as soon as he began dreaming of sleeping early, he remembered his Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus Honors homework that awaited him.

Prior to coming home from school, Bian had endured three hours of intense football practice, socialized with his teammates at a team dinner and made it back to school just in time to participate in a robotics team scrimmage.

“It was a tough night, but the next morning was definitely the worst because it was so much harder to wake up,” Bian said.

Since that experience, Bian has learned that he cannot procrastinate the way he sometimes did in middle school years.

Now that two-thirds of first semester are over, Bian and other freshmen have gotten used high school, whether by taking their first honors classes or joining their first extracurriculars and sports.

However, as the workload piles up during the fall semester, Bian admits that at times, he is unable to “catch up on work both inside and out of school.”

Freshmen who came from Redwood Middle School such as Bian were used to the early 12:45 p.m. dismissals once a week. In October, with no shorter days and only one day off, some freshmen are struggling to keep up with the pace of school.

“October is really just a rush hour for me and others,” said Bian. “Fall sports and band are in the heart of their seasons, and time management can get tricky.”

For freshman Suruchi Rastogi, an active participant in cross country, robotics and speech and debate, a month with only one long weekend has forced her to deal with “earlier mornings and late nights” in order to complete her work.

“I used to have two hours every day to do whatever I wanted to do,” Rastogi said. “Now it seems like I am always working on something school-related.”

Rastogi recalls a particularly stressful week in the middle of October when she had a vocabulary test in English and an Algebra 2 Honors test on the same day, something that she had never encountered at Redwood.

The previous night, Rastogi put off her work until 9 p.m. After working for more than three hours, Rastogi finally went to sleep at midnight, compared to her usual 10 p.m. bedtime.

“It was a big change for me. Even though when I went to sleep it seemed like only two hours past my normal time, it made me exhausted the next day,” Suruchi said.

To counter this high level of stress, freshmen have turned to relaxation techniques to unwind.  

As a wide receiver on the football team and freshman class president, Bian has many potential distractions every day, whether it be Facebook messaging his fellow class officers regarding future fundraisers or attending mandatory football team banquets. While Bian said he uses daily tutorials to “get a head start on homework,” he finds that listening to upbeat music helps him concentrate.

“Music with fast beats get me into a good rhythm, helping me stay positive and focused,” Bian said.

For Rastogi, though cross country takes up her afternoons, running is a way for her to destress, momentarily forgetting about the pile of work awaiting her at home and causing her to feel “more energized and motivated to work” after a run.

Despite the difficulties that freshmen have faced during the fateful month of October and continue to face as they finish their first high school semester, many have found the new environment and teaching styles to be positive changes.

“Even though the first months of high school have been difficult, especially October, I’m enjoying it, and I feel that I have become more responsible and more able to face future difficulties,” Rastogi said.

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