Freshman Year at Milton
by Sophie Cloherty on Friday, May 17th, 2013
Freshman year at Milton Academy tests new students’ ability to make a difficult transition as they adapt to an unfamiliar environment. As a freshman myself, I remember orientation week with great clarity: sitting in the ACC, uncomfortably looking around at future classmates, and trying to muster up the courage to approach them. In addition to preparing for a new academic and social routine, freshmen face the challenge of discovering their individual identities while uniting as a class.
Milton takes steps to ease Class IV students into this transition. As I have learned from other Class IV students, many at the time believed that the administration unnecessarily forced some social activities in the fall. Faculty insisted upon various “get-to-know-you” activities, ranging from redundant name games to discussions. Even though teachers had good intentions, most students did not enjoy these bland gatherings which were ineffective in bringing the class together. Looking back, however, I wonder if maybe those forced interactions did in fact unite us. We all shared in doubting these techniques, and eventually we bonded over our shared dislike of these activities. Though Milton’s methods may be clichéd, they in fact achieve their objective of uniting classes.
Freshman year additionally presents each student with challenging academics regardless of his or her educational background. The first few weeks are particularly tough as students adjust to the new workload, accompanied by longer hours and higher expectations. However, Milton does help incoming students handle the pressure well. Milton offers extensive support through peer tutors, extra help sessions, and proctored study halls. The administration also evens the playing field for all students by mandating that they all take the same level of English and Physics. This requirement allows freshman students to gain an understanding of their own academic abilities and subsequently set goals for upcoming years.
Balancing rigorous academics with a new social environment takes a great deal of effort. On Milton’s campus, faculty and older students, who remember going through the transition themselves, recognize this hardship, and although we must often struggle through ourselves, Milton does offer good guidance.
Most Class IV students seem excited about transitioning into sophomore year, strengthening bonds within their dorm, no longer being the “babies” of the Upper School, but most of all taking advantages of all the opportunities that Milton has to offer in the upcoming years: exchange programs, club prospects, sports teams etc. One Class IV student says that now. after his first year here, “high school is no longer a hypothetical and terrifying place,” but very real and exciting, somewhere that he secretly looks forward to being every day. Everyone experiences high school differently, but freshman year at Milton Academy shows students the numerous possibilities when a diverse group of individuals come together, empowering each other to tackle the next three years ahead.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=4842