Students give insight into the current high school experience

Students from all four grades share what it is like to attend and be involved with their high school


By Damara Stevens

Smiling at his friends, freshman Brayden Heath chats with his castmates before their musical rehearsal for “Newsies”.

Zach Shrader, JagWire reporter/photographer

The transition from middle school to high school

The high school journey is one full of ups, downs, twists, turns and lots of roadblocks. People take many different paths, all with the same end result, to move on to bigger and better things after graduation.

For freshman Brayden Heath, his high school career has started off very well.

“So far [high school] has been great; it’s definitely taught me a few things,” Heath said. “It’s a big change from middle school. I think it’s a lot more fun. It allows more freedom for everybody. Passing period is longer, which is a plus. You can choose more of your classes, and there’s a lot more to choose from. And the classes are a lot more interesting.”

Heath has also received some help acclimating to the new environment from some upperclassmen.

“There have been a few upperclassmen that I’ve known for a while that helped me through everything and give me advice. One of them is Lauren O’neil, and she’s my best friend’s sister. And she tells me what to look out for, and what to expect,” Heath said.

According to Heath, being accepted by upperclassmen means a lot to him.

“I appreciate [being accepted by upperclassmen] because I’m a small, insignificant freshman. So, being accepted by people that are older than me is fun,” Heath said.

According to sophomore Taylor Doyle, despite how great the improvements from middle school to high school are, they’re not as valuable as having experience in your sophomore year.

“Sophomore year, hands down, has been way better than freshman year because I learned how to manage time better which has let me be a part of a lot of [clubs],” said Doyle.

A lot of the hard work that sophomores put into their studies is preparing themselves for junior year, the year when most students have earned enough credits to take AP courses. Senior Aidan Taylor says that these courses are difficult, but not as tough as they are portrayed to be.

“Junior year was kind of tough because I had more AP classes, but they’re not as hard as they’re said to be,” said Taylor. “[Taking AP courses was hard] but I’ve coasted through a lot of it, and it’s been pretty low stress.”

Junior Ava Bredwell believes that junior year is actually easier than sophomore year.

“I think [junior year] has been a little bit easier. I have really good teachers this year, and I think that they do a good job of explaining what I’m learning better,” Bredwell said.

Bredwell will most likely be pleasantly surprised by senior year, which is relatively easy, according to Taylor.

“[Senior year has been pretty easy] because in senior year you don’t have to do a lot, everything is just in preparation for [college]. I’ve got a lot of filler classes I have most of my credits so I’m just pretty much coasting this year until I [graduate],” Taylor said.

However, most students need to maintain a high work ethic and time management in order to succeed in high school. According to Bredwell, she has had to work hard to use her time wisely.

“[I’ve had to work on] managing my time wisely. Especially with like studying [sophomore] year. I was really bad about studying when I was supposed to and I procrastinated every single test,” Bredwell said. “I’ve been trying to study more and I think that’s why it’s easier this year.”

According to Taylor, his work ethic is something that needed improving during his high school career.

“[I’ve had to improve upon on my] work ethic, because I have a lot of classes that I just don’t care about. It’s hard to apply the same level of vigor to a science class that I would to an English class or a business class,” Taylor said.

Even Heath is experiencing a lack of free time after just a few months in high school.

“[High school] is definitely a huge time consumer and I have very little free time with all the stuff that’s going on, and all the clubs,” Heath said. “It’s like all the time that I would have is drained.”


A way for people to stay engaged and plugged into high school is joining clubs. According to Doyle, being involved is a good way to stay busy, make new relationships and develop as a person.

“I love being involved because I like keeping myself busy, being a part of something special, as well as making new friends. [Doing things outside of school] has also given me a balance between taking care of myself and working toward goals I have at school. Also, doing things outside of school helps develop different skills than the ones we learn in school such as social skills and making decisions for yourself,” Doyle said.

Heath has also quickly learned where he fits in. According to Heath, theater is a big part of his high school experience.

“I’m a theater dude. [Theater] is definitely one of my main hobbies, and it keeps me busy, a lot. And it upgrades my social skills because I have to speak on stage in front of large crowds,” Heath said. “Also, there’s a lot of upperclassmen in [theater] and they all include me. It’s fun because I get to meet a lot of new people. Theater is a big part of [my social circle expanding]. They see me for who I really am and [they recognize] my talents.”

Taylor’s high school experience has been heavily influenced by a club as well. According to Taylor, the best part about high school is being involved with DECA.

“The best thing about high school has been DECA. [DECA] has helped me find my career choice and being an outgoing, confident, and engaging person. I got a lot of opportunities [because of DECA]. I got to go to Florida for the second time [in one] month because a band. I got a lot of medals, and I’ll get a lot more medals. I’m going to get some plaques. I’m gonna get some more good old resume packing goodness. DECA has helped me become a winner. [DECA] helped me navigate the business world and helped me find my career,” Taylor said.

Being a winner is an important thing to Bredwell as well. As her love for being on the softball team stems from working to achieve a goal as a team.

“I love [being on the softball team] a lot because we’re working towards a goal for our school,” Bredwell said. “We’re not just playing to play, we actually are playing to make it to state and to get the title for our school.”

Being in clubs is also a good way to take a break from the grind of school. According to Taylor, he uses clubs as a way to enjoy his senior year despite the boring class load.

“Academically, I hate [senior year] because it’s just stalling more time before going to [college], but outside of school and with extracurriculars it’s fun getting to be a leader,” Taylor said.

According to Doyle, clubs have given her opportunities she otherwise wouldn’t have.

“I’ve gotten so many more opportunities from the clubs I have done which has lead me to make friends from all over the US that share the same passions as me,” Doyle said.

However, according to Taylor, there’s always the danger of getting overwhelmed.

“If you get yourself too involved, you can get overwhelmed. But I’m not one of those kids. I haven’t had that issue,” Taylor said.

Bredwell said that a good way to combat being overwhelmed is by working hard to get homework done at school.

“If I have time at school I try and do [my homework], because there’s a lot of time at school to do stuff like that,” Bredwell said.

One very noticeable thing is the difference between people as freshmen and as seniors. Nearly every aspect of a person’s life changes while they are in high school.

Best and worst of high school

According to Bredwell, her social circle has changed a lot since her freshman year.

“Coming [to Mill Valley] and meeting new people and branching out has changed my social life,” Bredwell said. “Being able to hang out with the softball girls outside of school and having people I like in my classes [is beneficial].”

Taylor saw himself become a much more social and more engaging person. He also saw his value as an employee rise over the last four years.

“[After entering high school] I’ve become very outgoing. I think [I’ve become] more of an alpha. And I’m much better at talking to people. [I’m] much better at engaging people and discussing things. [I’m better at] presenting myself and selling myself as a potential employee,” said Taylor.

According to Bredwell, even maintaining relationships with parents and family members is more difficult.

“I think when you’re in high school it’s harder to have a close relationship with your parents, because you always want to be with your friends. But I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job talking to my parents about everything and not shutting them out,” Bredwell said.

Despite their paths being different, Heath, Doyle, Bredwell, and Taylor all agreed that making bonds and connections that will last is one of the best parts about high school.

“The best thing about high school is the people. I really enjoy talking to everyone because we have really nice people at our school,” Doyle said.

However, the four disagreed on what the worst aspect about high school is.

According to Taylor, his least favorite part of high school is the classes that he feels do not apply to what he wants to do in the future.

“[The worst thing about high school is] the classes that don’t apply to my career aspirations. Science classes are something that are useful for some people but I’m never going to use, and I can say that with confidence. Sorry, Mr. Johnston,” said Taylor. “That’s the most frustrating part [about high school]. Having to go through classes that you absolutely don’t need in the future.”

Bredwell has had the most trouble with time management.

“[The worst thing about high school] is having to figure out time management. It’s hard to practice every day. [Softball] takes away time from time to do homework and study time,” Bredwell said.

According to Doyle, the worst part about high school is the high stress levels.

“The worst thing about high school is the stress but every student has to deal with it so we all have each other to rant to,” Doyle said.

Lastly, Heath claim that the worst part about his short high school experience is the phones being taken away.

“[The worst thing about high school] is the problem with the phones being taken away. Specifically the classes that make you put your phones in like the cubbies, those suck. I hate those teachers. The phone epidemic is the worst,” Heath said.

With all of the ups and downs, the high stress, and great friendships caused by high school, people are left to wonder: Is high school really the best time in a person’s life?

Taylor disagrees with this statement. He claims that a person shouldn’t peak this early.

“If anyone peaks this early, they’re in for a long and sad life,” Taylor said.

According to Doyle, it depends on who you are, if you agree or disagree with this statement.

“‘It depends on the person. For me, I don’t think so because I hope to do a lot more traveling when I’m older,” Doyle said.

Contrary to Doyle and Taylor, Heath actually agrees with this statement. He claims that there are many opportunities that a person gets in high school that they don’t get elsewhere.

“There are a ton of more opportunities to partake in and, as more developed citizens, we could do things that seemed impossible to us when we were younger,” Heath said.

Bredwell disagrees with this statement, and she is very much looking forward to the future.

“I’m super excited for college and I can’t wait to meet new people,” Bredwell said.

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