The stages of maturation during high school vary considerably, especially for the early high schoolers. Both physical, and emotional maturity rates can be troublesome to the younger teenagers.
From the social aspect, freshmen, barely fifteen years, old find themselves interacting with eighteen year old seniors. Since most fifteen year-olds are socially inept, the seniors seldom do anything more than tolerate their presence. Naturally, a social segregation results, and self esteem may be problematical for the younger students.
The basic root of the problem stems from differences in physical maturity. Most 15 year olds are barely beginning to acquire men’s, or women’s bodies. The girls may be “flat chested”, and the boys may not have had their last big growth spurt. Since adolescents can be pretty cruel with each other, the under-developed suffer at the hands of the more mature at any high school.
There is a second aspect to the maturity question, which occurs in today’s diverse high school campus. There are some racial heritage components to maturity levels between Hispanic, Black, and White students. The white students tend to lag behind in physical maturity somewhat, particularly noticeable at fifteen years of age.
Naturally, all of these physical changes are accompanied by hormone changes which are also part of the equation. As the younger teenage boys are fighting with their changing voices, their counterparts are adjusting to actually needing brassieres. The surging interest in the opposite sex is new to many of them, and many suffer the physical embarrassment of pimply faces, smelly armpits, and unexpected urges of a sexual nature.
Although I know of no study to verify this, I believe that the transition years of high school may be the most difficult 4 year cycle that any of us encounter within our lives. Just as Kermit the frog sings of it not being easy being green, I would sing that it isn’t easy going through high school. For some it may be a lark, but for many it is almost more than they can bear.