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Sophomores: The awkward middle child of high school

Sophomores+%28Left+to+right%29+Troup+Jacobson%2C+Hans+Abruzzi%2C+Evan+Lankford%2C+and+Alex+Hansen+sit+at+the+lunch+table+on+their+phones+without+interacting.+This+is+a+common+scene+among+sophomores.+
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Sophomores: The awkward middle child of high school

Sophomores (Left to right) Troup Jacobson, Hans Abruzzi, Evan Lankford, and Alex Hansen sit at the lunch table on their phones without interacting. This is a common scene among sophomores.

Sophomores (Left to right) Troup Jacobson, Hans Abruzzi, Evan Lankford, and Alex Hansen sit at the lunch table on their phones without interacting. This is a common scene among sophomores.

Photo by Sarah Lambert

Sophomores (Left to right) Troup Jacobson, Hans Abruzzi, Evan Lankford, and Alex Hansen sit at the lunch table on their phones without interacting. This is a common scene among sophomores.

Photo by Sarah Lambert

Photo by Sarah Lambert

Sophomores (Left to right) Troup Jacobson, Hans Abruzzi, Evan Lankford, and Alex Hansen sit at the lunch table on their phones without interacting. This is a common scene among sophomores.

By Sarah Lambert, George Mason High School

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Freshmen are annoying. Juniors act cooler than they really are. Seniors are on top. And sophomores… are kind of just there.

Freshmen are new to the school. They still have middle school tendencies and are trying too hard to be a “high schooler.” They are the youngest child. The naive kid trying to follow the as-seen-on-TV play-by-play of what high school is supposedly like. By sophomore year, this youthful idealism has been suppressed into complacent boredom punctuated by frequent midday breakdowns, as the realization hits that “we really have to deal with this for three more years.”

Juniors start the year able to see the finish line. They’re halfway there. They can look down upon half of the student body. Of course, I’ll be the first to say that sophomores love to pick on freshmen, joking about their childish immaturities. But deep down all sophomores know that “we were them last year.” So for every freshmen I see scurrying through the senior hallway or scrambling to get to class early, I remind myself that I too once scurried.

All the grades have a role to play in the dynamic of how the school runs, the sophomores don’t seem to have a starring role. They are the buffer between the naiveness of freshman and the burden of impending adulthood encroaching upon the older grades.

The sophomores get along (for the most part at least) with all the other grades. And as easy as it is to pick on them, they honestly aren’t interesting enough to bother. Although the sophomores are incredibly diverse, with some appearing entitled and others disaffected, in fact, we are all united by playing the odd role of the awkward middle child.

“I felt that it was kind of an awkward time, when you are a freshman everyone kind of jokes with you, and they are more caring. But then sophomore year you feel like you are grown up, but the rest of the school doesn’t feel that way because you are just a sophomore… That was kind of how it was for me; I thought I was a lot older and cooler than I was, so it wasn’t a lot of fun. 15 is an awkward age, everyone talks about 13 and 14 being rough, and they are, but at 13 and 14 people can sympathize with you but at 15 they can’t quite as much,” said senior Maeve Keating.

Over the past few months, I’ve seen even the most dedicated sophomores stop worrying about school, and the most social kids in the grade stop hanging out with their friends. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to put in the effort or maybe just because they don’t see the point in trying anymore.

“Sophomore year has been really hard for me. It’s so stressful and I have been struggling with school,” said sophomore Riley Keelen.

“You are still trying to find yourself, so you don’t know exactly who to hang out with. Lots of people like a lot of different things now a days, so you kind of find yourself bouncing between friends. You really feel like you should have a solid group of friends, but you don’t really know where you are supposed to go; Half the time I sit at four different tables at lunch, and I’m not really sure what I am actually doing,” said sophomore William Ng

This phenomenon is particularly prevalent within sophomore year. This says something about high school. That at a certain point, students drive gets beaten out of them. They become apathetic and unmotivated, not only limiting their success but limiting their quality of living.  It may be because high school has lost its optimistic allure and they are too far away from leaving to look forward to that either. High school is designed to teach students a curriculum, but it’s far more significant role is its ability to define a person. Whether they are able to recapture their idealistic drive, or they stay isolated as an awkward middle child forever, their actions will determine the type of person they graduate as.

“I think just growing up, and maturing. It’s kind of a right of passage” said senior Maeve Keating of how she got out of the rut of sophomore year.

I can’t tell you how you can get through sophomore year because I haven’t gotten through it yet myself, but Maeve has a good point. We will all grow out of this, and sophomore year is painful but it is a “right of passage” that we will have to endure.

This story was originally published on The Lasso on February 12, 2019.

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