What is the difference between the middle school atmosphere and high school atmosphere?


Sophie Sturdivant, Writer

The intimidating jump from middle school to freshman year of high school. The optimism of having a picture-perfect high school experience, seeing old friends and new. Getting rid of the past–middle school.

“There’s a stereotype that middle school is really bad and probably the worst three years of your life. When it lives up to those expectations, you go into high school thinking it’s going to be as bad, but it’s a lot better. Nothing you would ever expect,” said freshman Lizzie Crossman.

Others concur. “[In middle school] there was a lot of…stereotyping and everyone was definitely in their own groups,” said freshman Rylee Repar. In contrast, Repar describes high school as more laid back and freer than middle school.

Crossman also noted the lack of “groups” in high school because students have more choices of classes they want to take as well as a variety of clubs and sports teams, so they surround themselves with people who have the same interests as them. This leads to a sense of contentment with likeminded people.

“The high school atmosphere is very accepting of who you are… It’s a lot more understanding so you are welcomed into this atmosphere of friendly people that are there to have fun and live life,” said Crossman.

But there are downsides too. “[High school classes] put a lot more pressure and it’s harder to get a good grade so you have to work harder,” said Crossman.

In a survey the Vista Voice conducted with 53 students—67.9 percent of them being freshmen—84.9 percent, or 45 people, preferred high school over middle school.

Most high school students have already gone to school together for at least three years, so what changed that makes students happier and the atmosphere in general so much more enjoyable?

Repar believes that a mix of staff and students create the atmosphere, with spirited teachers encouraging students to participate and have fun in high school.

“The administration in high school is better [than in middle school] and more supportive,” said freshman Zoe Willkie. 

Crossman believes that maturity has a part to play in the reason that the same people can create such a different atmosphere. Being able to see upperclassman and learn from them is how Crossman thinks students gain maturity.