Welcome To the Jungle?

By Abigail Potter

It is the artist’s privilege to take reality and convey it the way their perspective shows it, but he can also be misleading. The artist can warp and twist the way things actually are, changing it as easily as metal fresh out of the forge.

Once again, the artist has taken up his brush, mixed his colours and painted us a vivid, yet slightly unnerving picture of high school.

They’ve shown us senseless violence breaking out in the corridors, new students being trapped in lockers. We’ve come to expect that there would be a hierarchy in popularity, most of us falling well below the mark and going unnoticed for our entire high school careers.

Popular culture has taught us that every facet of personality gets divided into cliques and separated by tables in the cafeteria. There have been musical numbers sung about interfering with the social status of every person. We get images of horrible teachers pounding their fists on the desk to bring order to this veritable jungle.

Most people’s immediate reaction is, “well, that’s absolutely ridiculous.” But is it, or is high school simply another battleground?

Everyone knows, whether or not you have had this experience, that integrating into high school is a difficult transfer, even if you already have a solid friend group, loads of confidence, or the social skills to ingratiate yourself with others, we’ve all felt the flicker of doubt and dread rise up in us when we think about how much we don’t know. However, after the first few days of running up too many stairs only to realize that you’ve gone to the wrong class, every Grade 9’s experience starts to take on its own perspective.

So, are the stereotypes right, or is high school a much tamer place than we previously thought? I talked to a few of my fellow grade 9s to attempt to reconcile our extreme, often opposite, opinions.

In terms of the academic side of Lisgar life, the recognition that Google Classroom is the most useful program we have access to is unanimous. Online notes and calendars are saviours when our study papers are mysteriously consumed by our houses or backpacks.

Sometimes, the larger classes and lack of time the teachers have to get to know their students is an unfortunate disadvantage. But really, who can blame them for trying to focus on making the classes beneficial for everyone? There seem to be complaints to teachers from every student that the class is too visual, or too auditory, that they can’t keep up with the page, or they’re not challenged enough. Really, I find it surprising that teachers can even keep hold of their sanity.

I’m sure most of us almost cringe when that one disruptive student raises their hand, the rest of us knowing that this is going to take up the next ten minutes of our class. It’s frustrating to be mixed up with students who sometimes put something other than school first, or those who constantly have no idea what’s going on, or the know-it-alls who never let anyone get a word in edgewise. However, that’s part of growing your team skills, and generally progressing as a person.

And this leads me to the more social aspects of our school. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of great clubs there are at Lisgar. We offer almost anything you can think of, and these organizations are a great way to meet other students.

However, for those not used to having so many people around, the pushing and shoving in the crowd during the between-class rush can be overwhelming. The anonymity is sometimes nice, not having everyone greet you in the hall, but then again, it can be painfully awkward when trying to make friends, and it’s hard to push yourself past your comfort level.  

In talking with other grade 9 students, one comment I’ve gotten is that, for some, looking at an older student in the eye, let alone talking to them, is a terrifying feat. Another recurring complaint is that no one notices grade 9s in the halls, and sometimes ignore us. We’ll all eventually make great friends, but right now, it can be daunting,or exhilarating, depending on your perspective.

Despite the highly extreme opinions that coexist, in the end, I think we can all agree that high school is not all drama and fear. It can be chaotic, frustrating at times, but hardly a jungle. ♦