Seventh-graders adjust to middle school

Emma Vu, a seventh grade on the Trailblazer team, looking at the RCMS grading system, disciplinary policies and scheduling system.

Ishra Zaman

Emma Vu, a seventh grade on the Trailblazer team, looking at the RCMS grading system, disciplinary policies and scheduling system.

Ishra Zaman, Writer

With the first quarter over, seventh-graders are expected to settle in after the transition from elementary school to middle school. This year’s transition is particularly different because students and staff have to follow COVID-19 regulations to stay safe. Seventh-graders have mixed feelings about the middle school environment whilst having to adapt to COVID-19 regulations.

“The transition from elementary school to middle school is a drastic change,” said Sarah Maazouzi, a seventh-grader on the Champions Team. “Middle school offers a different school structure, grading system, expectations, social expectations, social groups, and much more.”

Sabeen Bhuiyan, a seventh-grader on the Legacy Team, expresses the difficulties she faced at the beginning of the year.

 “I feel like at the beginning of the year it was scrambled up,” she said. “It felt like I wasn’t going to adapt. I was extremely stressed and I wasn’t prepared in the slightest bit.” 

Elementary school and middle school atmospheres are different. Some students said middle school presents more obstacles than elementary school. 

 “The disciplinary policies and practices, our schedules, grading system, upholding teacher’s expectations, are different and stricter in some aspects,” said Dena Assaf, a seventh-grader on the Dream Team. 

Sarah said social expectations and social groups are a big adjustment.

“Middle school students are less empathetic,” she said. “Students feel the need to fit into an image that people around you think is acceptable, which leads students to become more self-critical and self-conscious.”

Sabeen said masks have added an extra challenge with socializing — it’s more difficult to recognize faces.

“COVID-19 made us more distant,” she said. “If students had a regular school year without COVID-19, students would have been more tight-knit.”

Dena was in agreement–she believes students thrived off of physical contact. She says students can’t contact each other physically because of the COVID-19 regulations students have to follow.

Sarah said COVID-19 also took away students’ ability to use lockers. 

“I think lockers provide students with a convenient place to store materials, it brings a sense of security,” she said. “Lockers would have been extremely beneficial to students.” 

Sarah said students still do most assignments digitally, the same way they did during the virtual school year, which she believes is disappointing. She says COVID-19 is limiting how many hands-on assignments and activities students do.

When asked about students miss about elementary school, the most common answer was recess.

“Recess allowed students to take a break from the structure and expectations of school,” Sabeen said.

The staff has been observing seventh graders closely to see how students have been adapting from the transition of elementary school to middle school, even under COVID-19 regulations. 

 “I’ve been surprised because students have been how they have always been,” said Mr. Moosa Shah, a seventh-grade science teacher at RCMS. “They have been adapting to school and following COVID-19 restrictions. It’s been like any other year.”

With the new middle school environment, it takes time to adjust. Dena said reaching out to people who give the right advice helps.

 “Dealing with transitions depends on how you perceive it,” she said.

Sarah agreed that students need a helping hand at times.

“I told myself to accept everything with a positive nature,” Sarah said. “Looking at everything with a different perspective opens up the path for tolerance and a better understanding.”

“The best advice I was given was taking it slow,” Sabeen said. 

“Perseverance is key,” Mr. Shah said.