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The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

Trying new things improves freshman year

Trying+new+things+improves+freshman+year

“How are you feeling about high school?”

I was asked the question around fifteen times this summer. Entering high school as an older sister and never having stepped foot in the school before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew the school would have more students and be bigger. My former middle school had seemed intimidating at first, but a week into school it no longer was. 

CHS’s student population is nearly 3,000, over double the student population of Carson MS, but CHS’s size still felt much larger than that. 

After going to the freshmen open house, I was holding onto the hope that the now-eight-minute passing periods would allow me just enough time to navigate around the crowded hallways and get to class on time. I remember wandering around the school with the map of CHS  in one hand and my schedule pulled up on my phone in the other, hoping I’d find my classroom. There was no way to differentiate one hallway from another hallway with all the identical wooden doors with identical green frames and identical green floor. According to an online survey of 170 freshmen from Sept. 18 to Oct. 4, 5.3% found getting to class on the first two days of school stressful and 18.2% found it hard.

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Halfway through the first day of school I realized the map of the school was absolutely no help. Instead of the map, I navigated the school using the purple signs near the hallway intersections. Following the directions of the signs led me toward my classroom, and by then it was fairly easy to figure things out, although looking for staircases or restrooms still proved to be challenging at times. When all else failed, a staff member was always more than willing to help.  The map of the school ended up at the bottom of my backpack crushed by binders by the end of the week, but I was navigating the school fine. Many students felt the same, as out of those surveyed, 96.8% now feel comfortable getting to class on time. 

Sports were also new, and as someone who was planning on trying out for a school sports team, I was pleased to find that high schools in FCPS offer almost 20 different sports.

I started using an online calendar and to-do list to stay organized between seven different classes and extracurriculars. Writing down homework and keeping track of test dates decreased the odds of something being forgotten. Although some mistakes were unavoidable, having a calendar to keep an eye on assessments and due dates often prevented last-minute cramming. With the later high school start time and more clubs, as much as I enjoyed the extra sleep, there was less time after school to get work done. Being productive became even more important. 

The wide variety of clubs made getting home later worth it. The 2023-2024 list of student groups in Schoology lists almost 120 groups and clubs for students to get involved in. Staying after school provided the opportunity to see friends and engage in activities with other people who shared the same interest. 88.2% of freshmen surveyed are involved or have plans to be involved with a student group at Chantilly.

It’s important to balance a heavy workload and good grades with enjoying the high school experience. Many adults have given the advice to make new friends, attend school events, try new things, and have fun.

And by the end of these four years, maybe the school won’t seem as big.

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About the Contributor
Ariya Lee, Staff Writer
Ariya is a freshman in her first year with The Purple Tide. She spends her free time reading, swimming and playing the piano. She's involved in climate activism, so whenever she's online, she's either doing homework or organizing for the next climate protest.
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