Upon entering high school, it is safe to assume that all freshman start off on an even level. If we are to assume that this statement is true, then it is also appropriate to suggest that freshman immediately start dividing into various “cliques”. These cliques are obviously made up of other students that share qualities (i.e., athletics, appearance, social activities, etc.). Finally, it is realistic to assume that these cliques are formed quickly and early on in freshman year.
After this foundation is set, each student then has the opprotunity to mature, however this process is somewhat limited by the clique a student has chosen to be associated with. Regardless of this limitation, all students can expect to pass through similar stages of maturation:
1) All freshmen are exposed to a new and challenging educational experience. This experience can be frightening and intense at times, however once each student adapts to changing classrooms, increased levels of homework, and different teachers for each subject the school day seems to go by smoother each day. Freshmen are also usually victims of upperclassmen-induced hazing, however this is also beneficial to a student’s ability to handle adversity and criticism.
2) Sophmore year is possibly the most awkward stage of high school. You are no longer a freshman (therefore causing the student to feel obligated to haze the new incoming freshmen below them), however you are also not considered to be an “upperclassman” just yet. Students will become more involved with the opposite sex during this middle stage of development as well, and weekend parties, gatherings, and other social events are more common.
3) Junior year marks the beginning of the “upperclassman” title, and many students have now finished drivers education, obtained part-time employment within their community, and accomplished other outside stages of social maturity independent from high school. Varsity sports are now a bigger deal for many school athletes, and as a result many colleges begin recruiting high school juniors at this stage. By this time many students are entering the final stage of their physical maturation process, as well, and romantic relationships have become more “intimate” as a whole.
4) Senior year marks the culmination of a young adult’s maturation process, both socially and academically. Many students must now choose which institution they will choose to attend in order to enter the collegiate stage of their lives. Many other students are required to begin careers or start families due to socio-economic differences and differing life situations. In essence, seniors in high school will change far less now in regards to their maturity level as a result of bodily process slowing and social niches being established.
The maturation process throughout high school is very rapid, complicated, and thorough for each individual student. While not every student will experience the same life situations over the four years, it is safe to say that all young adults begin to establish who they are as individuals during these crucial years of development.