Reflections on the First Week of School

By Anna M. Dubey

I found freshman orientation to be a flawed yet exciting way of beginning the year. As a former student of the Heschel Middle School, I can attest to the first week of ninth grade being vastly different from the first week of sixth; middle school orientation centered around learning new study and preparation skills, while high school orientation was all about meeting and becoming comfortable with new students. “It was very people-oriented,” agreed ninth-grade former Heschel Middle School student Alexandra Wenger.

There was one major flaw: nearly all of the ice-breaker activities were done within advisory groups. Each advisory has six people, about half of whom attended Heschel Middle School. Consequently, Heschel Middle School students attended activities with only about three people they didn’t already know. I was grateful to get to know my advisory so well, but I wish I had been able to meet more new students right away.

With that being said, the activities we participated in during the first week were definitely the highlight of the experience. Students especially enjoyed the scavenger hunt. “It was a fun way to get to know [our advisors] and our advisory group,” recalled ninth-grader Yair Assayag. Indeed, the scavenger hunt was a slightly awkward but very entertaining way to bond with our classmates, with activities ranging from “take a picture on a SoulCycle bike” to “challenge a stranger to a swordfight.”

The last few days of orientation gave students a glimpse into their classes and teachers’ expectations. The first classes focused on grading rubrics and classroom rules, information which, while a bit dry, was necessary for all students to learn.

Overall, although it could have been a bit more varied in terms of groupings, orientation was a great way to meet new students and learn our way around school.

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