A new school year starts, and once again, a million thoughts are racing through first-graders minds. What if you don’t know anybody from your class, or let alone the entire school? Someone’s always concerned about everybody already knowing each other and not being able to fit in. If it’s of any consolation: a majority of us have been in those shoes of a nervous newbie. So dear first-graders, been there done that.
In reality, there’s no reason to be scared about starting high school. To ease your minds, three students commented on the KSYK atmosphere and fitting in. Let’s hear what they have to say!
Noora Hägg from 20b is an experienced KSYK student, having completed her lower secondary studies in KSYK. She says that the atmosphere in high school is really relaxed, and people seem to effortlessly get along with each other. According to Noora, especially during the first two weeks, the tutors do a great job of creating that sense of team spirit. That, of course, mainly happens with just your own class. Getting to know students outside of your class is then up to events and courses.
With a lot of people taking the same path as her, she already knew some people from her class. Noora says that the first few days are for forming those groups you’ll spend most of your time with. Of course, there are those wild extroverts who manage to be speaking with a new person each time you spot them in the hallways. One thing she notes is that as easy it is to become a part of a group, it’s equally easy to be left out of one. When a group forms, it can be impossible to get into that group later.
Justus Rajamäki from 18e came to KSYK from Vesala primary school, not knowing a single person from his new class. He didn’t feel threatened by that though, as he could sense a KSYK spirit amongst the students right from the beginning. There weren’t that many people that had previously gone to KSYK in his class, and pre-formed friend groups weren’t that common either. The groups that already existed consisted of max. 2-3 people, so he easily made new friends within a week.
As time went by, he realized that different streams and age groups were feeling a little secluded from each other. Just based on the program organized by the school, it was fairly difficult to get to know people from outside of 18e. He thinks that more events that include the entire school, like a second night school, could be useful for the students. But thankfully, as Noora mentioned, courses provide a great pathway to getting to know new people.
Ivan Shcheglov from 19c came to KSYK from Aurinkolahti primary school’s math and science stream. He tells us that contrary to Aurinkolahti, there’s a strong team spirit amongst the students in KSYK. Everybody seemed to get along really well right from the beginning. He does feel that some students already knowing each other from lower secondary can negatively affect those that are starting fresh.
Ivan does feel that some things could be done differently regarding the school’s orientation efforts. Often everything is based on some kind of sport, and as fun as it is, it doesn’t provide the perfect opportunity to get to know people. Activities should be more communicative so that you really get familiar with people and find those friends. Ivan feels that the school should be devoted to creating a community since it would make the students proud to represent KSYK.
All of our interviewees agree that communality is a huge part of your high school experience as it provides great balance for all the hard work you’re doing. School isn’t just about being stressed for three years straight and then finally graduating. It’s about making friends and having fun. Even studying will become more fun if you get to do it with people you truly appreciate. In KSYK, make sure to take advantage of the fact that people in your stream probably have a lot in common.
To non-first-graders, all of this advice is for you as well. It’s never too late to familiarize yourself with your fellow students. As your matriculation exams are approaching at an alarming rate, a support system of great friends will be the best thing you can have. So dear students: be brave by getting yourself out there. Pick different courses and participate in those events! Some keywords for you to take with you are open-mindedness, courage, and communality. Best of luck on your journey!
Text: Annika Lappalainen
Images: Enni Katara