In middle school, social life was patchy, often subject to change, and frequently awkward. My first day at PHS showed me how different high school would be. In middle school, all of my classes were with students in my grade. In my first class at PHS, I sat down in Philosophy with a few friends from middle school and quite a few sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Later that day, in my French class, a sophomore sitting behind me said, “You’re Sam Gavis-Hughson’s little sister, right? I’m his best friend!”
I had been worried that those older than me wouldn’t want to associate with a freshman, but my French class, mostly comprising of sophomores and juniors, was one of the most welcoming I’ve encountered at PHS. These more experienced students knew their way around and were eager to both mercilessly tease and give advice to a frosh. They also drew the new students into the clubs they were passionate about, allowing us an entry into the potentially intimidating scene of student groups. My first year, I attended a variety of meetings and eventually became involved in the Quidditch club and the Ivy. Although I have shifted my interests, these clubs were where I met some of my first friends at PHS.
Besides clubs, the most important way I connected with people was through classes. Unlike in middle school, high school classes become increasingly specialized according to a student’s interests. It was in my freshman biology class that I found one of the most important people in my life. In general, I have met amazing people through classes, where we bonded over projects we did together or just because we sat next to each other.
I have also made close friends through the PHS GSA and the Tower. These groups unite people who share similar interests and can enjoy working together toward a common goal while also spending social time together. It is through these groups that I have been able to discover my place at PHS. By getting involved, I have established a circle of friends while pursuing the activities I love. Junior year was characterized by the heaviest workload I have ever experienced as well as the most potlucks, movies, and excursions downtown, and the most fun spending time with my friends of any year in high school.
Over time, I have found the people I truly enjoy. What I love about high school as opposed to middle school is that, with such a large school and so much freedom, I can choose the people with whom I want to interact. The person I present at school is shaped by these interactions and by the choices I have made. Going into senior year, I feel that I have found my place here. I am a nerd, a music nerd, and a journalist. I speak French, I enjoy philosophy, I love cooking and food, I’m in the GSA, I tutor math and chemistry. I have chosen to pursue these activities and, through them, have developed an identity that allows me to define myself and how I interact with others. I have found my niche at PHS, and I like it.