The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

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From one flock to another

The class of 2026 passes the torch to freshmen

Starting high school can be nerve-wracking.
The combination of a new school, new classes, new teachers and students you’ve never met before is enough to make anyone sweat. It’s different from starting elementary school, because

Hawkeye© Charli Gilchrist

when you’re four or five-years-old, you simply assume your fellow students will enjoy your company. Coming to high school? It’s different for every single person. Some are nervous because at the age of 14 they have had time to develop emotions such as anxiety and the ability to feel self-conscious. Others take it as an opportunity to figure out what they believe and further develop themselves as people.
Everybody, at one point, has delt with being a freshman and the countless worries that it comes with. Later on, many look back and think, ‘I wish I would’ve done this! I wish I would’ve done that! Why didn’t I do that?’ But why should anyone live a summer of regret when going into sophomore year, or even after graduating in general? Luckily, the class of 2027 has predecessors willing to help.
Academic validation and the pressure to be a straight-A student, especially after middle school, is extremely high in freshmen classes. Incredibly high standards are created, which can make it difficult to ask for help. Sophomore Nataliya Soumphonphakdy advises the new freshman class to not let grades run your life, as well as your mental health.
“Make sure you don’t overwork yourself to where you are crying constantly,” she said. “Teachers are happy to help. I was scared to ask for help and I didn’t try as hard as I would’ve hoped during my first semester because I thought people would think lower of me [if I asked for help]. Once you push yourself to ask your first question, you get very comfortable and realize that no one really cares.”
Hanging around the wrong people can also have a significant negative effect on students’ mental health. Surrounding yourself with supportive peers who want to make eachother happy can help to deal with the stresses of freshman year.
“Being in a good supporting friend group [can] really boost your mental health and make you feel like you belong there. If you’re ever in a situation where you feel like the friend group you’re in just isn’t for you, try and find a way to get away from it,” sophomore Jayden Nguyen said.However, many students are in the stage of their lives where they are intimidated or anxious when it comes to meeting new people. A study made by the Child Mind Institute reiterates this, describing the issue.

“[Social anxiety] is when you worry so much about what others think about you that you stop doing things you need (and want) to do for fear of embarrassing yourself. Social anxiety in kids starts between the ages of 8 and 15,” said Rachel Ehmke in an article titled “What is Social Anxiety?”
Of course, this is something that everyone goes through, but it’s a valid fear nonetheless. The ways students cope with this vary, some do their best to do their version of ‘fitting in,’ somecompletely avoid it, and some don’t do it at all. In comparison to their time in middle school, sophomore Nicholas Roach wants the class of 2027 to know that high school is much better.
“This [high school] is going to be way better than middle school. There’s over 1,500 people at this school, you’re going to make at least one friend. Things get easier after middle school, and it may take a while to notice, but it will eventually happen,” Roach said.
How does high school prepare students? Lessons, homework, projects, and more. If someone is not used to the workload, especially when in advanced classes, these can be major stressors. Luckily, there are many ways to deal with this and make tests less worrying.
“You need to manage your time well, especially if you end up being in classes like Honors World History or Honors Biology,” Soumphonphakdy said. “Both of those classes can be time consuming depending on your strengths and weaknesses. When studying for tests, I suggest working with others or flashcards on Quizlet would help out a lot.”
First grade to senior year, even post-grad school, every school year brings a brand new terrain of opportunities. In short, no matter how old someone is, they should take time to rest.
Once the class of 2026 have experienced their freshman year, they understand the worries, pressures, and anxiety this year’s freshmen have, wish them the best and have the most credibility for giving the class of 2027 advice to succeed.

Welcome banner image credit: Hawkeye© Kimberly Nguyen

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About the Contributors
Terina Papatu, Hawkeye Co-Editor-in-Chief
After joining in her freshman year (2021), Terina Papatu developed a love for all things journalism. She originally joined on accident to tell the truth, but as of her junior year she is Co-Editor-in-Chief. In the future, she plans to study reporter journalism and become a writer professionally, and currently loves to help her friends with their writing as well. When not working on Hawkeye, she loves listening to music and reports for Ground Zero Radio. This year, Terina plans to make HSM an inclusive space as well as being a representation she didn’t have before.
Charli Gilchrist, Graphics Editor
Charli Gilchrist joined HSM to learn more about journalism and continue from where they had left off in journalism from middle school. They have no specific role but hope to help out the paper with graphic design as much as they can. In their free time, they usually enjoy studying clouds, listening to music, and scrolling through Pinterest. They plan on going to a university of the arts after graduation, but for now they can enjoy contributing to the school paper.
Kimberly Nguyen, General Manager
Kimberly Nguyen joined HSM to improve her design and photography skills. She hopes to continue capturing stories in the form of appealing visuals as well as helping out with and attending more journalism events. In her free time, she loves to do art, travel, hang out with her friends, research, and listen to music. She also takes an animation class at Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center. Kimberly hopes to pursue a career in the art/STEM fields in the future.
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