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A freshman’s opinion on Freshman Transition

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Freshman students working in Transition study hall

Freshman students working in Transition study hall

Freshman students working in Transition study hall

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As a freshman here at Vernon Hills High School, I have a very fresh perspective on all the activities that are available to students.

It was a little overwhelming for me to transition to high school as there are a lot more activities and classes than in junior high, so you can imagine how at ease I felt when I found out there was a class that transitions us freshmen into this new chapter of our lives.

When I actually began the class, I realized that most of the information we were learning was redundant. According to a survey taken by 209 students, many shared my opinion. Most students who were asked what the least important information they learned in Transition is answered something close to “almost everything.” This common pattern is an indicator of how Transition is not working.

The invention of this class had good intentions, but in practice, it falls short.

There are a lot of reasons as to why I have this view of transition, but there are three specific ones. The worst part of Transition would have to be the content of it, as a lot of it is not valuable.

In the survey that was taken by students, 77.4% of freshmen said they are currently not learning any valuable information, or they only learned any valuable information at the beginning of the year.

For upperclassmen, a little more than half answered that they didn’t learn any valuable information, and almost everyone left over answered they learned only a little valuable information in Transition with that being 45.9% of responses. That leaves the people who did learn from Transition, which is a whopping five total students out of the 209 who took the survey.

These numbers signify that most of the current and previous students in Transition are not really learning any important information for high school. This is a clear problem.

I can contest to this as I have experienced it for myself. For example, I have been sick and needed to go home in the middle of the school day a couple of times, and when I went to leave the school, I was stopped and told that I needed to sign out of the school. Now, I had no idea how to do that as I was never taught, and I still have not had a Transition small groups class where they have taught anything like that. Freshman Transition taught us how to properly write an email, except that is redundant as everyone should already know how to write an email to someone like a teacher from learning it in junior high; it wastes a lot of time.

Many students are enrolled in honors and AP classes, which piles on extra work to the already heavy workload of homework. Every week, 50 minutes is lost through Transition large and small groups. 50 minutes could do a lot, as in four weeks you will have had 200 extra minutes for homework. Some have presented the argument that we already get three days of study hall, and while I see the validity in that, students don’t always have the same amount of homework every day. Freshman Amala Pattabiraman puts it nicely when she explains how Transition is working backward in reducing stress

“They talk about how we are stressed in and out of school, yet they take away time to do homework and preparing for tests by teaching us things we already know,” Pattabiraman (9) said.

Transition currently isn’t just a problem for freshmen, as most upperclassmen are having a problem with its location. During lunch periods, the LMC is overcrowded because freshmen are taking up all the space in the IRC, and many upperclassmen are mad about this.

In the survey taken by students here at Vernon Hills High School, 70.1% upperclassmen have a problem with the freshman Transition classes taking up space in the IRC.

This isn’t the only problem though as freshmen are also having problems with the IRC. In the freshman Transition study halls, you are not allowed to talk or interact with other students.

“You have to be sitting quiet, and this really restricts what you can do in the IRC, because there are times where you wanna get together in a group and study together, and we just can’t because we have to sit and be quiet,” Ben Thomas (9) said.

This is a perfect example as to how restrictive the Transition study hall is, as because the IRC is always going to remain quiet, we could just move Transition to another location so that students could work together.

I do have to address the value in the charity work that we occasionally do in freshman Transition because I do believe it is important to maintain the service aspect of Transition, but that does not mean we should have to meet 50 minutes a week for it. We should still have the charity work, but have it be like a couple days out of the year.

I propose that the school should have the most valuable information compacted into only a couple of classes during the beginning of the year. The rest of the year should be a regular study hall where talking is allowed, but should be monitored by the Transition teachers to make sure students are talking about work instead of wasting time. This new Transition should probably take place in study hall rooms, as to free up the IRC.

This would work because then students would be able to learn the most important information at the beginning of the year, which will help students know what to do in high school. These changes would enable students to work on homework and even study together. This would reduce stress for students and give them more free time to make their lives just a little more relaxed.

As a freshman who is not benefiting much from Transition—if at all—I hope that administration can fix these issues for future freshman classes.

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A freshman’s opinion on Freshman Transition