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Cerritos High School

Center Spread - Surviving High School


Freshmen are very noticeable because of their scared facial expressions and love of bad pop music, and the infamous oversized backpacks (because they haven’t got the time to use their lockers because they’re running around trying to find out where their next class is). The good thing about being a freshman is that no one cares what you’re doing at this point, so all of your feelings of fear and awkwardness--though maybe justified--are (potentially) temporary. No one will remember the haircut you had where it looks like your mom stuck a bowl on your head and cut the hair around it, because no one else wants to remember either. Why? Because they also had something embarrassing going on with themselves, whether it was the skechers, the bedazzled jean pockets, or the obsession you have with that emo-pop band no one else seems to like except the salesperson at Hot Topic... and equally awkward-feeling friends, of course. Then again, this is the time for you to make friends, join clubs, and be the weirdo that you’ll later cringe at seeing in pictures. All this novelty: exciting. Freshman Catherine Ndawala’s favorite thing about being a freshman is “being new to this experience[…] and getting new classes and making new friends.” “That point where you're finally comfortable where you're at, that’s the best part,” said Ndawala. The biggest difference transitioning from middle school to high school is having to be more independent and responsible when it comes to your homework. Sometimes, the teachers move ahead and you’ll fall behind if you don’t take the initiative and do it yourself. You also need to push harder to get that good grade because the curriculum harder too. Ndawala is most looking forward to improving herself and “getting good grades and joining clubs, and learning things and making new friends.” Ndawala already loves volleyball and can’t wait to join Sophomore Class Committee next year, and attending Spring Fling, and Homecoming. Catherine Ndawala already has advice for freshmen next year. “Don’t try too hard to be with like the cool people, be cause this school is so big anyway. What’s the point of trying to fit it into that one specific group and being forced to be something that you’re not when you end up not feeling comfortable with the people you're around.”

“That point where you’re finally comfortable where you’re at, that’s the best.” SOPHOMORE: ELISE GIBBS

So you’re a sophomore now, you’re finally getting the hang of things, you know where the 700 building is, you know where to sit at lunch, you have experience now (even though you might still occasionally walk into the wrong classroom once in awhile when you are rushing to class, but hey, it’s not your fault, the 300 and 400 buildings are basically the same). Sophomore Elise Gibbs said the biggest difference about being a sophomore is that “they expect you to know the campus[…]the rules, you can’t say ‘I’m a freshman I don’t know’ anymore.” Sure there are some things about being a sophomore that are not so great, like that mandatory year of P.E., but Gibbs said, “ I’m looking forward to meeting upperclassmen, but the sophomores still treat you like babies.” Gibbs is also looking forward to the new club--”Young, Black, and Gifted”---that wasn’t here last year, and watching school football games. And, lastly, continuing on the softball team. If Elise Gibbs could give any advice to freshman it would be to “try hard in school because people say freshman grades don’t matter, but they do[…] and get involved in school early because it’s kind of hard.” People often say that underclassmen don’t experience the same level of stress that upperclassmen do, but this is not the case with Elise Gibbs, she’s most stressed with her first AP test, AP World History, which is many sophomores first AP test as well. Sophomore year is your time to plan for the future and to not bombard yourself with responsibilities you are forced to take up because the people around you are telling you to. Take it easy while you can.

JUNIOR: SCOTT LEE, JR. This is it. It’s junior year, the hardest year of your high school career, or so everyone says; but is it true? You’re finally an upperclassman, so now the young-ins are supposed to look up to you; but is there really as big a difference between sophomores and juniors as it seems? It seems like when you’re a junior everyone just wants you to be something; however, being an upperclassmen definitely has it’s perks. For Scott Lee, the best thing about being junior is that there is a “big difference between a freshman and a junior, but with being a sophomore it’s not that big…” There are certain special privileges you get as a junior: you can take more AP classes and you can now go to Prom; but with these privileges there are unexpected setbacks: you may have to take the SAT or ACT and more AP tests, and if you’re anything like Scott Lee Jr., you’ve already started to worry about college apps and the required standardized tests. “Juniors have more opportunities, like going to Prom, but other than that there’s not that big of a difference, other than just being older than everyone else.” said Lee. “Junior year is the year that colleges look at most, and you also have to worry about what teachers you want to ask for letters of recommendation. There’s a lot to look out for.” Even though junior year is so stressful, remember to have a little faith in yourself that you’ll do well and enjoy this year, because you’ll never be a junior again.



SENIOR: Melissa Mateos

“...find your outlet to relax or else you’ll feel like you’re going crazy.”

“ can’t say ‘I’m a freshman, I don’t know’ anymore.”

“...with these privileges, there are unexpected setbacks.”

Everyone goes through high school waiting to be a senior. You’re the crème de la crème of the school and everyone looks up to you. You’re almost an adult now, something you’ve waited to be for so long; but is it all you’d hope it’ll be? Senior year can also stressful and strange. Everyone suddenly expects you to be prepared to be an adult now--and have everything figured out--when you’ve been treated as a child for your entire life. On being a senior, Melissa Mateos said “I’m really excited but also dreading the entire year to come, because there is so much work in terms of college apps and keeping up with grades and that anxiety about where am I going to get into for college or where am I going to go. Every decision I make can affect the rest of my life, but I’m really excited because I finally get to make my own decisions and be more of an independent person.” When high school students finally realize they are seniors, they forget about all the work that you still have to do, and only see the freedom you get as an older young person. “Yes, a part of me is going to miss my friends and all the friendships I have made but at the same time I’m really excited to start my life and make new memories and experiences.” said Mateos. Mateos is most worried about the stress and anxiety she’s getting with the college application process. “It’s just a really hard decision to pick where you want to go, and then having to wait for those acceptance letters.” “I’m really excited to get out of the high school bubble, but I’ll miss being able to depend on my parents[…] but I’m excited to know I’ll be independent in a few months.” Thinking about how you’re going to leave your group of friends can get anyone feeling down about the last year of your life as a child, but all you can do is hope that you’ll still be friends with them in the future, and try to stay in touch with them. “Freshmen should get involved in school as much as you can because you’ll make new friends, know more people, be more involved, it just makes high school a better experience rather than just sitting back and watching other people take part,” said Mateos. “Start on college apps early and to relax[...]find your outlet to relax or else you’ll feel like you’re going crazy.”

October 2016 Center Spread