The First Day Back—Already?!


The first day. All heads seem to be turned towards you as you enter the main lobby of 50 Boulevard of the Eagles for the first time and walk towards the cafeteria before the homeroom bell rings. You haven’t heard the sound of a bell in-person in a while because of the previous remote learning format. You try searching for familiar faces, but you can’t seem to recognize anyone but your own reflection in the newly-polished gym floors. 

Eventually, however, you slowly realize that there are more friendly and helpful people than you thought, along with a more welcoming and manageable environment than you’ve feared. These are the people who will be with you over the next four years. They will be your social circle. They will be with you as you become a young adult, and will be there when you graduate four years from now. 

Welcome to Edison High School.

Don’t be too startled. While the transition from middle school to high school takes time to get used to, the eventual benefits will outweigh any initial struggle. Sure, the thought of feeling comfortable and finding your niche in such a new environment can be daunting. But, as Dr. Gene Nasser, freshman US history teacher at EHS, says, “You don’t need to be perfect to be successful. You just need to be consistent. Especially out in the real world, again, nobody’s perfect, but what counts is consistency. And so if you keep practicing and keep working hard, it’s going to be its own reward at the end of the day.” Similarly, maintaining this consistency is crucial in order to establish this comfort and niche. 

If middle school wasn’t the brightest of times (don’t take this personally!), high school is the time for a fresh start! The new curriculum, staff, and students allow everyone a reset. 

“Remember that everyone wants you to succeed,” Ms. Jennifer Przygoda, a Biology and Anatomy & Physiology teacher, said. “You may find the building big, but it will not take you long at all to learn the halls. When you need help, ASK! EHS is filled with amazing students who are kind and helpful. You will find that asking an upperclassman for some advice can often be a big help.” 

Ms. Kaitlin Hoey, a World History teacher, shared a similar sentiment. “Expectations will be high and you will definitely be outside your comfort zone, but your teachers are here to support you,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to speak up, ask questions, and advocate for yourself!” 

Sometimes, asking for help might seem like you’re mocking your own intelligence, but, in reality, reaching out to teachers can improve academics and relations with teachers. The community of Edison High School is willing to help you out, so be sure to seek that help whenever necessary. 

While we’ve already gone through a lot of information already, there’s still more to learn. Here’s some more helpful advice from teachers and students in the know: 


Dr. Bernard Bragen, superintendent of the Edison School District, was once a student at Herbert Hoover Middle School as well. He offered some advice from his own experiences, both as a student and administrator.

“Try to walk to school property before the first day of school, [since] it’s a lot bigger than either one of the middle schools,” Bragen said. “I remember when I first went there, I thought it was huge compared to Herbert Hoover which was a little box, or a little square. All of a sudden, it was a much larger campus.” 

Even becoming a little more familiar with the layout of the property can make the transition easier. However, this task may be easier said than done. Just remember that members of the EHS community will help you find your way around the school. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it!

Przygoda agreed, pointing out that even current students and faculty might feel a little lost.

“This ‘back-to-school season’ will be hard on everyone as we navigate our way back to being all in-person, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad thing,” she said. “Sometimes those things that are difficult for us to do allow us to really learn and grow as students and adults.” 

One important point to note is that you’re not the only one who’s trying to get adjusted to a new school and schedule. Especially with the pandemic, many at EHS will need time to readjust themselves to the in-person learning environment. 


An essential part of high school, apart from maintaining a good GPA, is establishing meaningful friendships.

“There’s no doubt that academics are important in high school, but it’s also imperative for new students to learn how to reach out, form connections, and make an impact,” said Rishab Gera ’21. “These are qualities that you don’t necessarily learn in a classroom environment.”

Although working on group projects in a classroom helps students receive this kind of experience, you’ll quickly realize that this is not the only way to meet new people. By joining clubs, activities, and athletics; you can establish connections and make friends that you would never have otherwise.

Making new friends in an unfamiliar place is already stressful enough, and in a place as large as EHS this effort might seem overwhelming. But that can actually be a benefit.

“Our high school is a large school, probably around 2,200 or so students, and when you go to high school you’re going go with whatever clique you hang with,” Bragen said. “The newspaper group, the football group, the track group, the chess club group. And it’s nice, because we have our own little niche, and yet we’re part of the larger school together too.” 

Don’t worry about how large of a friend group you need to maintain. The reality is that you can maintain smaller friend groups despite the large size of the school.


One of the ways you can make your high school experience a memorable one is to join activities. Academics aren’t the only important aspect of high school—extracurriculars like clubs and sports  can help form new friendships while also teaching about how to  maintain work and social life. 

“One of the things that eased the transition for me was sports,” Bragen said. “I played on the football team and I played lacrosse. We started practice before school started, which back then, I think was the third week of August, and I immediately had a group of friends from TJ that I didn’t know because they were on the team with me.”

“It made it easier for me to transition to the building because I knew my friends from Herbert Hoover, but Herbert Hoover and TJ come together in Edison High. So [take] any chance and opportunities that you get to interact with students from the different schools.” 

Take it from the two writers of this article—one of us attended Hoover, and the other attended Thomas Jefferson. You may not think much of the students who attended the other middle schools, but these students will eventually grow into your social circles and become your friends if you let them. It’s up to you to make the first move in establishing these friendships.

The idea of being from a different middle school shouldn’t get in the way of making new friends in high school. At the end of the day, everyone, whether you’re from Herbet Hoover or Thomas Jefferson, will spend four years at Edison High. You are all Eagles now.

Just like sports, clubs are also a great way to form connections with other people.

“The past year and a half have definitely been unorthodox, but for underclassmen, it’s never too late to find a club, a sport, or any passion of any kind and become involved!” Gera said. “The great thing about EHS is that there’s always something for everyone. From multicultural clubs like Peacock Society, French Club, and Latin Club, to community service clubs such as UNICEF and Rotary, there’s always something you can do to get involved…you just have to find it.”

Joining clubs can be a great way to make friends and balance school and work life, which you’ll find is an essential balance to create with the increased workload. 

Like Gera said, joining clubs and activities you enjoy can help you get involved in the school community and meet new people.

“I can understand how it can be very different to come back to school after the year we’ve had, but I think one of the most important things you can do is get involved in the clubs or sports at EHS,” said Nimisha Pant ’21. “As cliche as it sounds, high school definitely goes by pretty fast, so honestly do whatever you like, while also remembering that your grades are just as important as having fun.”

“Try to get invested during your time at the school, the more energy you put into school – academically and in extracurricular activities, the more you will get out of your four [years] here at EHS,” said Hoey, who also advises the Model UN and coaches the varsity swim team.

You don’t want to look back at high school and just think of your academic achievements. While these are undeniably important, involving yourself in activities such as sports and musical groups can make your experience more memorable and enjoyable. 


Let’s be honest: academics are important. The transition from middle school to high school is not only physical but mental as well. Your previous study habits and mindset involving school will change entirely with the increased workload and expectations and the inevitability of the real world looming on the horizon. 

Nasser stresses this increased academic expectation. “You’re moving up into a big intellectual level, and so the struggles are going to be real. But it’s okay—there is no victory without a struggle,” he said. “So struggle, but be victorious in the end. Too many students these days just give up…It might take you ten passes, twenty, but don’t give up. Because on the twenty-first time, you’ve got it.” 

Przygoda offered some suggestions to motivate yourself and encourage productivity. She said, “The biggest advice is to put away the phone. So many students have been used to having their [phones] by their side during remote learning and it will be different coming back. You need to get used to putting the phone away when it is time to get to work.”

“And if you are having trouble,” Przygoda said, “just ask your teacher for help. Some of us even have nifty phone holders in the front of the room so that you can have your phone in a safe place and not be tempted to use it.”

While all of the advice you’ve heard so far might undermine the significance of academics, Nasser reminds freshmen of their responsibilities nonetheless. He said, “It’s time to take ownership of the work you do and the work you don’t do. Excuses don’t count.”

Even after hearing all of this advice, you may still see your future experiences at EHS as insignificant. Why put all of this effort in anyways? 

“Everybody’s got a talent,” Nasser said. “And if you don’t develop it, then you rob the rest of us from benefiting off of whatever talent it is that you bring into the world. Everybody’s [talent] is a little bit different. And if you don’t develop that, then we all miss out on that.”

The advice we’ve shared regarding creating niches and establishing efficient academic habits is not only to excel in high school, but excel throughout the rest of your life. By doing so, you’ll truly be able to contribute to the rest of the world uniquely. But that process begins here at Edison High School.

Yet, it is important to remember and reflect upon the issues that COVID-19 has introduced. While we’ve acknowledged that freshman year is a time to start new, this pandemic has and will change the way we learn.

As Przygoda said, “I imagine school will never be quite the same as it was pre-COVID and I hope we hold on to the new and fun things we have learned in teaching during the pandemic.”