Discussing freshmen expectations vs. reality


RM’s girls varsity softball team consists of several freshmen this year. (Photo permission granted by Charlotte Cornman)

Jocelyn Yuan, Senior Features Writer

As the school year draws to a close, more and more students are contemplating the future that lies ahead of them, which for some includes college. Yet others are looking back and reflecting on both their personal growth and their former expectations from the beginning of the school year.

Freshmen in particular had many expectations going into their first year of high school, though most were debunked through their experiences.

“Looking back, no one knew what to expect,” freshman Sophia Li said. “Our middle school teachers made high school sound like the most terrifying thing ever, but now I know it’s really not.”

She also expressed her views on RM’s community and how they helped make the transition from middle to high school easier.

“Everyone was super nice and supportive, especially the teachers,” Li said. “They made everyone feel welcome and really eased the transition.”

Others felt similarly about RM’s community, believing that it greatly contributed to their overall positive high school experience.

“I originally thought that some people would be jerks, but everyone is pretty chill,” freshman Andrew Zhang said.

RM is known for its intense academic rigor, especially considering its IB program and high standards. Many freshmen had varying expectations regarding the school’s academic difficulty, many of which were influenced by advice from upperclassmen or rumors.

“We have a lot more free time than I expected,” freshman Charlotte Cornman said. “I thought we would be at home all day doing homework, but we actually have time to hang out at Town Center.”

She also shared how she took advantage of that free time to join the varsity softball team here at RM.

“I didn’t think I would be able to manage softball and homework at the same time, but it was pretty doable and overall an amazing experience,” Cornman said.

On the contrary, others believe that the amount of schoolwork is actually more than they expected, proving the rumors about students getting no sleep to be true. Freshman Katie Hu specifically referred to English class as one of her most stressful classes.

“I expected it to be like middle school, where we barely had homework,” Hu said. “Now, I stay up doing assignments and definitely don’t get enough sleep.”

Another unique aspect of RM is its open lunch, which grants freedom to students to go practically anywhere. Many students go to nearby places such as Rockville Town Center and Ritchie Center, both of which have a variety of shops and restaurants.

Freshmen were especially excited about open lunch in the beginning of the school year, given that almost all middle schools didn’t have this feature.

“It’s really fun going out during lunch with friends,” freshman Akhil Vadivel said. “I was super excited about it before I came to RM, and it definitely lived up to my expectations.”

Other freshmen’s expectations were more miscellaneous, such as regarding the quality of bathrooms.

“If I have to nitpick, the bathrooms here are way worse than I expected,” Zhang said. “Lots of people don’t go at all during the day because of their quality, and I hope the SGA does something to improve them.”

Overall, most people had a positive impression of RM and are excited for the next three years at school. Some freshmen in particular shared the lasting impact that their first year here had and will continue to have on their lives.

“RM is one of those schools where it exceeds your expectations in every way possible,” Li said. “I think I speak for all freshmen when I say that coming to RM was a life changing experience, and I can’t wait for what sophomore year holds.”