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How Does Transitioning Differ Between Grade Levels? (Grade 8 to 9)

Written by Yujeong O.

Transitioning between different grade levels, especially in high school, can be daunting for many students. With increasing academic responsibility and logistical concerns about where things are and how things work, making a successful transition is linked with some apprehension. However, we can reduce feelings of unease through time and experience.

Artist: Rachel A.

An anonymous poll completed by the class of 2023 reveals the most challenging transitions between grade levels throughout high school.

Grade 8 to 9

Among all survey participants, over 13% chose moving into freshman year as their hardest transition.

While sometimes underestimated, the experiences and concepts acquired during freshman year are the foundational building blocks for the remaining three years of high school. Because of this, most students undergo a newfound sense of anxiety during their first year. 

One freshman notes that “high school feels a lot like entering a new school. Everything suddenly gets more serious.” Although many students claim to feel supported by teachers, the comfort of middle school is gone, while the demand for good academic performance is high. According to freshman Arkaitaz K., “it’s not easy with the invisible pressure to do better.” A few others also mentioned that shorter breaks and a lack of playground facilities contribute to the tensions of their surrounding environment. 

Adapting to schedule changes while successfully locating new classes also requires time and practice. Nonetheless, these little confusions can seem overwhelming during the first few days of school. One freshman admits that “identifying different modules is difficult” when the high school campus “seems so much larger than the middle school.” Freshman Rayya S. concurs: “I also got a bit confused when locating my classes on the first week back.” 

Another prominent difference between high school and middle school stems from the grading curriculum. Unlike high school, middle school academics does not consist of letter grades or GPA. As one freshman states, “it’s either pass or fail, mastering or approaching, which is 50% above or below average.” By moving from two to numerous criteria, students find that there are more detailed requirements to fulfill in the long term. Alongside the strains of increasing academic workload, this contributes to feelings of frustration.

Despite these challenges, the transition from middle school to high school is still exciting as it signifies the possibility of new beginnings. “I get a fresh start and a chance to do better,” says one freshman. Alongside new beginnings come unexpected opportunities. In freshman year, one of these opportunities includes freedom in course selections. Freshman Nathan L. mentions that “being able to choose and select classes enhances freedom, individualism, and self-expression.”

Top 3 Tips

  1. Ask questions: Asking questions is a great way to communicate and connect with others. Don’t be afraid to gain clarification to ensure you thoroughly understand different terminologies and concepts. It’s better to get the help you need than move forward confused and frustrated.

  2. Build relationships with teachers & students: You have incredible teachers and peers supporting you here at JIS; don’t let that opportunity go to waste.

  3. Choose classes you will enjoy: Select classes that genuinely pique your interest! Don’t just choose for the sake of being in the same class as your friends; what fits others might not suit you.

The transition from Grade 9 to 10 will be posted on the next blog. 

This article is published on the Feedback, JIS School Student Magazine, October 2022 edition. Check out their website