Back to School: Through the Eyes of a Student

As we begin to enter the final weeks of August, high school students are preparing themselves for an annual bittersweet event: Back to School.

Teens across the state brace themselves for the highs and lows of the academic rigor, athletic endeavor and social life that await them this year in the modern high school experience. We wanted to dive deeper into the mind of students preparing to trudge their way to school in the coming weeks and see what excitement or apprehensions they have about the forthcoming school year.

We gathered six area high school students and asked them four questions about back to school expectations in hopes of gaining some valuable insight from today’s high school students.

The Students

Sarah W, 16, Junior at East Grand Rapids High School
Karlton Z, 17, Senior at Grant High School
Lauren S, 17, Senior at Kent City High School
Nick F, 18, Senior at Kent City High School
Hannah G, 16, Sophomore at Sparta High School
Jared S, 16, Sophomore at East Kentwood High School

“What are you most excited about when going back to school?”

Sarah W: ““My first hour online class. I’m learning sign language.” 
Karlton Z: “Getting back to playing tennis. It’s my favorite sport.” 
Lauren S: “To start preparing for my future through taking some more advanced classes and some more classes that are geared toward what I want to do for a future career.” 
Nick F: “To finish my senior year of sports so I can make a decision on where I want to compete at the next level.” 
Hannah G: “The new things I’ll be learning. Mostly academic, but it’ll be nice to see my friends and create new relationships with the new teachers I’ll be having.” 
Jared S: “Being able to see my friends once I get back to school.” 

“What are you least excited about when going back to school?”

Sarah W: “I am not looking forward to seeing the immature and rude people at my school.” 
Karlton Z: “All the stress that comes along with school. Trying to get good grades in classes and on tests and exams and stuff like that. Balancing school and other things is stressful as well.” 
Lauren S: “Trying to balance extracurriculars and work. I love my sports and stuff like that, but I need to make money for college and post graduation things. It’s just a lot of stuff to balance.” 
Nick F: “The tough college classes that I’m taking this year.”
Hannah G: “Any drama that might come my way.”
Jared S: “The amount of stress that the start of school and sports is going to put on me.”

“What would you like to accomplish this school year?”

Sarah W: “I want to try to have at least all A’s and B’s.”
Karlton Z: “I’d really like to be valedictorian of my graduating class. It’s been a dream of mine for a while.” 
Lauren S: “I really want to make it into a good college and have my future plans set before school gets out. Also, a state championship in band, basketball, and/or softball would be really nice.” 
Nick F: “I would really like to get in the top 10 in the state for cross country this year.” 
Hannah G: “I want to get good grades on my future exams, and I want to have a 95% or above in all of my classes.” 
Jared S: “I would like to get a 4 on my college board exam for my AP World History class.” 

“What are you most nervous about?”

Sarah W: “I’m most nervous about dangerous people entering the school. Bomb threats and shootings and things like that.” 
Karlton Z: “I’m really nervous about not making it to state for tennis. It’s my last chance to experience it, being a senior.” 
Lauren S: “I’m most nervous about stretching myself too thin. I have high goals set for myself and I gotta be smart about not over committing myself.”
Nick F: ” “I’m most nervous about what my final GPA is going to be. I’m hoping to keep it up this year.” 
Hannah G: “Not succeeding and not making my parents proud.”
Jared S: “The start of sports going into this upcoming school year.” 

The Similarities

Within the students answers, there were a couple similarities. The six were divided on what they were looking forward to between classes, extracurriculars, and seeing their friends at school.

Most, if not all of the students at one point mentioned being concerned about the high levels of stress that high school students have to experience at times. The current education system, combined with time consumed by other activities, can cause enormous amounts of stress and anxiety, not to mention the stressors that can be caused by peers and personal expectations.

As schools begin the 2019-2020 school year this week, it is important that family and friends help support students in classes and extracurriculars as well as keeping a watchful eye on any stress or anxiety that may be starting to build up. Check back for future articles detailing the warning signs family and friends should be monitoring.

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