Transitioning to Upper School: The 8th Grade Perspective

Emmeline Land, Staff Writer

The anticipated transition from eighth grade to Upper School can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. What will the schedules be like? How strict is the dress code? Who will be my advisor? All of these questions and more rush through 8th graders’ minds as they leave everything that they’re used to in Middle School, and go into the unknown of Upper School.

Before going into the Upper School, the eighth graders must decide which courses they want to take based on their teacher recommendations and their own personal motivations.

“They are thinking about real life for the first time, and having to look at the big picture of things that they haven’t thought about before,” said Natalie Luke, middle school dean of students.

For many eighth graders they are excited about all the opportunities in Upper School but will also miss certain things from middle school.

“I’m going to miss P.E and Break the most because those were more active times to hang out with friends,” eighth grader Weston Smart said.

Eighth grader Penn Davis is excited for all  the new opportunities the Upper School has to offer.

“I’m looking forward to all the different clubs you can join and other events in the Upper School,” Davis said.

By taking exams in eighth grade, the rising freshmen are well prepared for the school work and responsibilities in Upper School.

“One lesson I’ve learned in Middle School is time management. I’ve realized that some classes take more effort than others, and I need to set aside time to do my homework, rather than just winging it,” Smart said.

Middle School gives students the opportunities to figure out how they learn best before they enter into Upper School.

“I have learned many different study strategies that I hope will help me in Upper School,” Davis said.

The rising eighth graders will be a great asset to the Upper School, and are well prepared for the challenges that it may bring.

“It’s a really positive group of children. I remember their 4th grade teacher described them as a box full of puppies because they are so playful and joyful, and so I think bringing their spirit and enthusiasm to the upper school will be a great benefit,” Luke said.