Expectations vs. reality – freshmen experiences


Freshman Krisha Pahwa finishes her congressional debate speech during school, giving her more time to pursue other interests and finish her homework. Many freshmen find it surprising that Jefferson has a wealth of humanities clubs in addition to STEM. “There are still a lot of opportunities to express your interest in non-STEM activities, which I guess isn’t expected in such a STEM-geared school,” Pahwa said.

Miriam Antony, Staff Writer

Lead snapping as I fidget with my pencil outside a classroom, students talking nervously in clumps that block the halls, friends walking by wishing students luck. By the end of that Friday, Jan. 24, all freshmen had completed their first final of high school and their first semester at Jefferson. Did it meet their expectations? For some it definitely did, while for others the story is more complicated.

“There’s a lot more classes and options that I actually like, but the workload is a lot heavier and harder. Some of them [the classes] I like the challenge but then there’s other classes where it gets overbearing,” freshman Suhani Aggrawal said. 

Many also find that Jefferson’s reputation for challenging classes might not quite match up to reality. In fact, many students replied to an open poll on Facebook stating that Jefferson turned out to be better than their expectations. Sure classes can get challenging, but most students find that after some careful review and help from teachers, they find no problem keeping up.

“I thought they’d be very challenging and hard to follow and there would be tons of homework. It’s not that bad and sometimes I’m confused in certain classes but then I’m able to finally understand what’s going on,” freshman Manav Bharath said.

Jefferson also tended to have a reputation for students who are tired, overworked and unhappy. While the toxicity and the pressure to do well at Jefferson does disrupt the lives of many students, others find their peers to be friendly and welcoming. 

“The kids at my middle school worried that I would become depressed. They heard that Jefferson students are very unhappy people, if you know what I mean. I was kind of scared that it would happen to me, but I come here and the students here are a lot nicer than I expected. They were very friendly, it was easy for me to make friends,” freshman Ann Shen said.

No matter what exaggerated stories freshmen may have heard about Jefferson, they came, and most are happy with their decisions. Driven by a desire to learn, many freshmen have found their place at Jefferson.