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Curious Minds - High School: A Million Times Better than Middle School!

High School: A Million Times Better than Middle School!


The first day of school last fall, I really didn’t think I was going to make it through the door. I still remember the big letters across the scaffolding, spelling out the dreaded words Mayo High School. They may as well have been spelling out my death warrant. Terrified, I tried to calm my panicked and racing mind, which was racked with questions: What if I can’t handle this? Maybe I shouldn’t have taken as many advanced courses. What if I don’t do well? What if all of my teachers hate me? What if all of the kids hate me? 


Now, almost three-quarters of the way through freshman year, I’m not sure why I was so worried. The questions that I had so desperately obsessed over immediately began to disappear. Within the first few seconds of math class that day, I heard the best seven words ever: “Hey, aren’t you on the cross-country team?” Spinning around, I was greeted by a kid I vaguely recognized from cross-country practice the week before. I smiled back, about to reply, when the teacher walked into the room and began passing out the course syllabus. This simple packet—which included information on assignments, test dates, classroom rules and procedures, and where to go for help—calmed me. 


Throughout the rest of that first day and the days that followed, I discovered that most of my teachers were tough, but fair, and that most of the kids were friendly. But what really amaze me was that, unlike what I had experienced in middle school, excelling at one’s studies was deemed a positive, rather then a negative, by most of the student body. Not one person in any of my classes, many of which were geared toward older students, asked me why I was there. Instead, they said that they were impressed that I was there. 


High school has been a very positive experience, and I like it about a million times better than middle school. I have lots of new friends and participate in a bunch of sports and clubs. But most importantly, it’s given me the opportunity to excel in challenging classes, learn from teachers who catch me at the end of class to give me extra books on what we are studying, and to interact with other kids who love learning. For those of you in middle school who might be feeling as if you don’t fit in, my advice is: Hang in there. Things will get better!


Maya Khanna is a freshman at Mayo High School in Rochester, Minnesota. She has participated in three of WCATY’s online Academy classes. She has also attended WCATY summer programs—ALP, STEP, and YSSP—for the past four years.