A Sophomore’s Year at Ward Melville

Janet Song, Staff Writer

The first bell rings as I try not to fall asleep in Chemistry.

Days pass slowly and I’ve become more sleep deprived than I have been in all my junior high years combined. The sound of the bell ringing and the hastened shuffle of students’ feet in the hallways have become a new music I’ve accustomed to. I come to teachers empty handed and leave classrooms with many papers, the burdens of tests and quizzes lingering on my mind. And when I finally arrive home from school and set my backpack on the floor, the lack of weight on my shoulders feels unfamiliar.

It’s not the easiest transition to go from one place you were so familiar of to the unknown. Since I’ve started my first year here, I have asked myself, “Do I enjoy Ward Melville, or am I missing Gelinas?” Classes have become more demanding and challenging. I know that I’m a sophomore now, and should be expecting more work than usual, but the teachers in high school have raised the bar higher than what I was used to in junior high.

I’ve noticed that I am a little more stressed as the pressure to maintain good grades has hit me harder, as the years before I head off to college seem closer. Is this what’s supposed to happen? I’m growing up and I am fully aware that I have more responsibilities, yet I’m afraid of the outcomes if I mess up. As I work to keep up my grades, I’m trying to discover my interests through extracurricular activities, and I’m still trying to maintain a social life.

And the two words make me laugh. What social life? I haven’t been able to hang out with some of my friends since classes have started, and that’s all because we have been separated by different classes and schedules. Unlike Gelinas, I don’t get to see them at lunch anymore. Since my sophomore year, I have spent more time alone.

I sometimes ask another question to myself: What can I do in Ward Melville that I couldn’t do in Gelinas? In high school, I’ve discovered a new independence. There are less restrictions on where I have to stay for lunch, more opportunities in the many clubs the school has to offer, and importantly, a chance to meet new people. I know I don’t have some of the old friends I knew in 7th, 8th, and 9th grade, but it’s not a bad thing to be alone.

Sophomore year seems to be a wake up call. It makes soft whispers — no, it screams at me and reminds me that I need to work harder for a future that I want. It tells the truth, but it’s not a truth I like hearing. The sophomore year also is presented as a challenge, in which I’m tested to see if I can balance my academic priorities with the other aspects of my life. But what it really wants to know is what I am capable of.

Ninth period ends and the bell rings. I lift my backpack again one more time and head out to the buses. As I leave, I consider taking a nap. I probably need one, or else I’m going to fall asleep in Chemistry again.