Freshman 2.0

The experience of transferring to East sophomore year.

Claire McFadden, Eastside Staff

Sophomore year is a year that most freshman looks forward to. After nine humbling months of being at the bottom of the student body, sophomores can look forward to longer being the bottom of the food chain. With a full school year under their belts, sophomores are ready to use their experience and confidence to help out the new freshmen.

But, suppose you switch schools.

All of a sudden sophomore year is no longer one step closer to being an upperclassmen,, but a huge leap back.

 The slate is wiped clean, and all you learned the year before no longer matters. You are entering a new community, with different people, harder classes and maze-like hallways. Not only could you get hopelessly lost in between classes, you could be the sophomore who couldn’t find their classroom.

This year, I transferred into Cherry Hill East from Merion Mercy Academy, located in Merion Station, Pennsylvania. Merion Mercy is an all-girls, private, Catholic school that requires an unbearable 1.5 hour commute from Cherry Hill.

Although I attended Richard Stockton Elementary School and Rosa International Middle School from kindergarten to eighth grade, a lot of paperwork needed to be filled out in order for me to return to the Cherry Hill Public School system. This  included the schedule for my sophomore year.

On four different occasions I received tours around East to avoid getting lost in the first few weeks. In the final days before school I received advice and warnings.

All I heard after sharing my decision to switch schools was how much homework East students regularly receive and how stressful the honors classes are. I was told I would get hours of work every night, and that balancing sports and school would cause me to depend on coffee to get me through the seven hour school days. Procrastination would eventually lead to the death of me.

September 6 arrived, too soon. I nervously packed my bags and dressed in clothes that were not part of a uniform.

Walking to the bus stop felt strange, for all of freshman year I had to be driven to my bus stop on Route 70.

The day was perfectly uneventful. Not once did I get lost. I fit right back in with my elementary and middle school friends, feeling right at home. East has so many students; no one knew I was a transfer. It’s still hard to believe that I went to school in a completely state for an entire year.

By the second week of school, I understood what my peers meant by massive amounts of homework. East’s curriculum challenges me by forcing me to analyze texts, base arguments off of documents and apply what I’ve learned in class to difficult test questions. It took me a few weeks to adjust to the vigorous workload that made my freshman courses seem like elementary school lessons.

Transferring schools is a very interesting experience. Sometimes, during class at East I imagine what the students at Merion Mercy are doing. I wonder what their classes this year are like, and how their sports teams are doing. Most of all, I think about the people I left behind who I will most likely not see again. I stay connected through social media, but sometimes it’s hard to understand how a place I spent nine hours at every day for nine months is now just a memory.

Overall, transferring to East was a positive experience. I look forward to three more years of high school and graduating with my closest friends.