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Freshman Perspective: First Weeks at West

Sonia Kangaju '19, Staff Writer

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“My baby’s in high school…”

Those were my mother’s incredulous words at the end of my first week of school. We were sitting on the porch in front of our house, waiting for my younger siblings (both in middle school) to return home. I was telling her all about my day and what was new, and I don’t think she had quite wrapped her head around it yet. Still, she told me to cherish every moment of my next four years at West, because they’d disappear before I could even say my own name.
And I wondered to myself… how does that happen when three days feel like a million years?

For the longest time, I’ve prided myself on my ability not to sweat most things. Sure, I’m human and I panic sometimes, but I just hate unnecessary stress. After an easy time starting kindergarten and a pretty smooth transition into middle school, I managed to convince myself that high school would be a cinch. Mostly for my own sanity, because my rational mind was in a perpetual state of hysteria.

I attribute this in part to—yes, you called it—the sheer size and complexity of the building. At Rosa, there were three wings: A, B, and C. Done. Here at West, there are eight different wings, and three floors, and horrible intersection traffic, and… yeah, I was lost. Even with the map right in front of me, I couldn’t do it, which is kind of sad. But you know what I find most remarkable? For the first handful of days, I was puzzling over floor plans, confusing left and right, but by the second week I was rattling off directions to my friends as if I lived here. Again, how does that happen?

There was also the considerable fear of entering honors classes this year. You know that feeling you get when you’re so sure you can do something, but you’re still nervous as heck to perform? Yeah, that was me. I’m ridiculous; I spent the last few days of August preparing myself for drill sergeant professors. Thankfully, I was able to silence those crazy voices in a matter of two days.

Meeting my teachers during the first week of school was a great experience. I love all of their personalities, and I’m excited for what every class has in store. Because of that, I’m not as afraid of the challenge as I once was. I’m sure no matter what might happen down the road, I’ll be in good hands with these men and women. As a student, knowing that gives you the best feeling ever.

Aside from all the trippy stuff, there are plenty of things I loved about West from the get-go. One of those things is being able to keep my book bag on me throughout the school day. It’s amazing how much easier it is to carry things on your back than in your arms. It particularly helped on the first day, since I forgot both the location and combination of my locker. Silly me had neglected to write it down after orientation…

Then there’s my extracurricular life. Obviously, I joined the newspaper staff, and after meeting everyone on the team, I know that I’ll thoroughly enjoy my time here. I also got involved in drama and landed a role in the children’s show, “Alice in Wonderland.” We jumped right into reading through the script for our first rehearsal, which I’m not exactly used to. (But I love this… I’m actually not as patient as most people perceive me to be.) I’m super excited to start bringing this show to life over the coming weeks!

Lastly, but certainly not least, high school is a fresh, unique atmosphere. Literally, just the feel of the building, in comparison to middle school, makes a world of difference. Spend a day here, and you know exactly what I’m talking about. There’s a significant air of independence and responsibility that surrounds and fills you constantly. Especially on my off days, just thinking about that, and all the great things that lie ahead of me here at West… it empowers me. In this critical chapter of my life—no, in everyone’s life—I feel as though it’s important for us to always reinforce that sense of purpose. Always have something to work towards, to look forward to, because forward is the only place you’ll find success.

Good luck to everyone in the 2015-2016 school year! It’s going to be a great one… I can just tell.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Freshman Perspective: First Weeks at West”

  1. Lillian Halden on October 26th, 2015 2:27 pm

    A wonderful article, Sonia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know you will do great things at West!

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The student news site of Cherry Hill High School West
Freshman Perspective: First Weeks at West