Enrolling in a new environment

At a young age I dreamed about getting older and imagined a life of perfection. As I got older, I realized that if I wanted the perfect life I had imagined, I have to put in the effort everyday into everything I complete, big or small. Athens Montessori School (AMS) taught me the skills I need in order to work toward this dream.

I spent 10 years at AMS in the same community with the same people who have supported me for all that time. When I graduated it felt like I was leaving a part of me behind. 

The saying “you never know how much something means to you until you lose it”  captures the way I felt after I graduated from AMS, leaving everything I’d known behind.

Now at Cedar Shoals, it feels like I’m in a summer camp just waiting to go back to AMS. At the beginning I tried to pretend nothing was wrong, that I could push through and meet new people, but there’s still a longing to be back at AMS. 

The environments at these two schools are extremely different in so many ways, but in the end they’re both schools, trying their best to help the students.

AMS separated students into small buildings for each three grades together, and we learned in the same room with the same 20-30 people every day. At Cedar, I cannot always receive as much one-on-one time with teachers because of class sizes. The high school block schedule is also stressful compared to the pace at AMS which was much slower. 

Though it may seem shocking, AMS students call their teachers by their first names. Because of this my classmates and I made it a goal of ours to figure out teachers’ last names, but now at Cedar it’s a goal of mine to figure out teachers’ first names. 

At AMS there was never much pressure on grade percentages until seventh grade, which is not beneficial to me now at Cedar. I put more pressure on myself now to understand the grading rubric. At AMS, I was taught more about learning skills like time management and how to improve on my work which has been extremely helpful moving into the fast pace of the block schedule.

AMS had very few tests up until seventh grade, including the basic math, spelling and standardized testing. Seventh grade is when we started taking tests regularly, completing math quizzes almost every week, while finishing spelling or etymology tests each Friday. 

In transitioning schools, it has been difficult for me to make new friends and balance school work. Though I made the most amazing and memorable friends at AMS, I missed out on forming new relationships at Hilsman Middle School that would then come with me to Cedar Shoals. 

Instead of having all my middle school classmates come with me to Cedar, our graduating class split between Central, Cedar, and private schools. 

There are moments where I wished I had transferred to Hilsman earlier and met new people, but I’ve come to realize how much I appreciate staying at AMS. Though we now all go to separate schools, I have somehow stayed connected with former classmates and I’m grateful for the time we still make to hang out.

At AMS, with the same people every day, I tried to be friends with everyone. The people in my classroom are the most incredible individuals I’ve met in my life, and because we spent so much time together we got to know one another. Though I wish I would have appreciated the time I had there more I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.

I remain grateful for my friendship with my former classmate Sophia. We became closer last year, and we spent Mondays and Fridays in aftercare together. We spent every minute of aftercare learning card tricks, talking about life in general, reading, drawing and doing homework together. She helped me realize what type of person I want to be and helped me achieve that. Without her I would be an extremely different person. AMS helped me nurture this friendship by letting us work together in class and providing an hour each day to hang out on the playground.

Aftercare mixed students from fourth to eighth grade together daily after school. While some students my age might not like younger kids, I adore them. The time I spent in aftercare with a variety of ages has shown me how much I took advantage of the time I had when I was younger. I never knew how fast time went by when I was younger, but I realize it now. 

Now at Cedar I don’t spend two hours after school. I now have time to join clubs and  partake in activities that I enjoy such as singing and the K.A. Artist Shop’s art club downtown.

Cedar has been a rollercoaster of an experience for me with grades and learning. Trying to keep up with the teachers and taking notes was difficult enough for me in a small private school, but at Cedar it’s become more demanding.  

To say the least, the transition has been difficult, but the community at Cedar Shoals has been a rallying support system. I’ve had troubles with scheduling, making friends and grades. But now, in the third month of being at Cedar, I think I’m finally starting to realize what a special place it is. Though I will always miss Athens Montessori and all of the experiences and people I was able to learn from and meet, I’m finally excited to be in the middle of a new chapter of my life at Cedar Shoals High School.