9th Grade Reflection: Finding Our Way, Together

Grace Wan, ‘18

Now walking down Houston Street – finally under the spring sunlight instead of relentless snow – I can look back on the fall, when I first walked down from 2nd Avenue, at the time apprehensive and a bit queasy. Over the course of two semesters, despite mild sleep deprivation and omnipresent Astroturf, freshman year has created fond memories for me to look back on. Now nearing the end of the 2014-2015 school year, ninth grade has been like befriending a bull – sometimes effectively and sometimes not so much.

Exposed to a new school with new peers, September was an expectedly hectic time with similarly hectic thoughts: “Where’s the computer lab again?” “Sorry, uh, this isn’t my classroom…” “I really should have started my homework earlier.” Trying to find a safe spot – the library, Freund’s room, or maybe the yard – was a priority for me amidst all the changes that I had yet to adjust to. Grades that were lower than they used to be and faces I had not known in previous years were barricades for my mind. Through my frantic footsteps, though, I became accustomed to the school; each shaky step was a more familiar one than the last.

As time went on, it seemed that the excitement and apprehension settled down. It was no longer necessary for me to worry about being late to class, because I knew the way. Simple morning greetings to strangers turned into conversations with acquaintances, and conversations turned into walking to the train station together. I could see myself taking larger steps, daring to challenge myself. I became more attached to the community. Being on the Yearbook Committee and the Bardvark transformed from commitments I had been afraid to make into experiences that I enjoyed. Class evolved from quiet environments full of strangers into discussions with peers whom I had come to know and care about. Teachers, who were at first unfamiliar, became people I admired and looked to as role models. I even saw myself begin to change. Intimidation was still there, but more so comfort and a developing sense of belonging.

Asking for directions, walking into the wrong classroom, and, of course, keeping up with a new workload all proved to be roadblocks that I learned to move around. Though new problems presented themselves, I found that I did not need to solve them by myself. The people who I simply walked to the subway station with became friends who I could trust, tease, and joke around with. Faces that I could not recognize became faces of people I saw everyday and shared my life with. I no longer had to brave ninth grade alone – there were people in the same boat, and whether the boat was on calm or rocky waters, I was not alone.

While some times were difficult to endure, my first year at BHSEC has prepared me to walk down Houston for three more years — and yes, probably with sneakers still full of Astroturf.


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