The Hinsdalean - Community journalism the way it was meant to be

Peer buddies comfort more than freshmen

 

October 17, 2019 | View PDF



They say that time flies. They say that these four years will go by in a flash.

But I remember my first day of freshman year. It was a scorching hot day in August. A short-sleeved gray dress was not the best choice to hide those embarrassing sweat stains. Being crammed in a humid, sweaty gym for the first all-school assembly did not mix well with the anxiety of being at the bottom of the totem pole at a new school.

Rumors of crazy science teachers, intense work loads and daunting deadlines were rampant enough to overshadow the hype of fall football, fervor of homecoming and opportunity to meet new people. However, I would like to credit the smooth transition from middle school to high school with one club that has shaped the student I am today.

Peer Leadership is one of Hinsdale Central's most popular clubs, with more 100 students involved, and its outreach is immense. The club focuses on welcoming and including the incoming freshmen class on a biweekly basis through group interactions and one-on-one Peer Leader buddies. Leaders work to keep their freshmen informed on school traditions, encourage school involvement with sports or extracurriculars and remind them of academic concerns like grades and final exams.

Personally, I found the club to be extremely rewarding. It became the only thing freshman year that put my place as a newbie in perspective and acknowledged the fact that I did not automatically know everything about the secrets to success in high school. The advice was relatable because it was given by students who had been in the same position years prior and lacked the patronizing tone often associated with authority figures who mean well but lack the compassion peers inherently have.

I found Peer Leadership's impact so profound that I decided to apply to become a member my sophomore year. I was in a position of authority to give advice on what I wish I had been told the previous year. I'll admit, it felt a bit hypocritical at first to be in the spotlight as a "leader" when I had hardly done anything worthwhile yet. I, too, was still learning the ropes of high school, but I made sure to make it clear to my freshmen that I could learn something new from them, too.

I am a junior now and once again a member of Peer Leadership. I have two years under my belt to reflect on and offer insight on my experiences to the new freshman class.

Time flies, I tell them. These four years will be gone in a flash.

Already I am listening to college talks, preparing to take standardized tests and monitoring my GPA. I seek comfort in the fresh faces of freshmen with dreams of success.

- Cedra Jazayerli, a senior at Hinsdale Central, is a contributing columnist. Readers can email her at news@thehinsdalean.com.

 
 

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