“Confessions Of A Less Stressed Out Seventh Grader”

Writer Julia Mannino reflecting on her first year of middle school.

Writer Julia Mannino reflecting on her first year of middle school.

Julia Mannino, Staff Writer

On November 19th, 2020, my first Gull article was published. It was called “Confessions of a Stressed out Seventh Grader,” and it was about how stressful school seemed to be in the beginning of the year. It’s the beginning of June now, and boy, has my mental health improved. It might be because the excitement of summer camp is right around the corner. Or maybe it’s because I started sports and made so many friends. Perhaps it’s the weather getting nice to the point where I can just wear shorts and a t-shirt without shivering from the cold. 

My original article talked about the stresses of both online and in person school. Online, it was so hard to concentrate because of many factors. My sister, Carina, had her computer on blast as she listened to her teacher. Can’t say I didn’t have my volume all the way up either. I own pets, it’s kind of self explanatory. School in your bed was fun the first week but it got old fast. I felt that the teachers couldn’t communicate with us as much as they could if Coronavirus had never existed in the first place. 

In person, it was also hard to concentrate; have you met my class? The lessons seemed to drone on and on and on and on without scheduled breaks in the day; it felt like I was there in the classroom forever. And don’t forget about, both in person and online, the defeat of not achieving something you didn’t even know about until someone rubbed it in your face (that person was usually me to myself).

Now that I’m full-live and exit assessments are coming up, I’m kind of surprised that I’m pulling myself together even better. It may be because I’m spending waaaay less time on my phone. I joined cross country in March and I think that was the best decision of my entire school career. My legs probably don’t think so but I definitely do. I joined track earlier this month, and even though I got sand in my eye a couple times and stepped on goose poop more times than I care to admit, it’s still really fun.

I think my point of view of school has changed a lot since November in a good way. Yes, there’s been discouragements here and there (looking at you, my nonexistent student of the month letter), but overall it’s been so much better. I feel emotionally and physically better than I did, say, seven months ago. You just have to try.

I’m somewhat glad that I wrote that article back in November. Not the fact that I felt hopeless and sad, but the fact that I was able to share my experience of the first couple months of seventh grade. I wish more seventh graders took that opportunity, especially because we were the ones that graduated and entered middle school in an unprecedented pandemic.

I can’t believe this school year is almost over. Class of 2027, and all the other classes that read this, I have a few words that might get you through the school year if you’re feeling down or feeling like it’s going so painfully slowly (lots of us felt that way):

    It gets better. You got this.

Corny, I guess, but I wish I had told myself this as period after period, day after day, week after week, month after month slowly progressed onwards. Remember that you’re not alone, and don’t be like me; reach out to teachers and guidance counselors and parents. Realize that there are others feeling the same way. And, for the love of rocks, don’t get into school fist-fights. It’s common knowledge.