What Do You Learn From Middle School?

a middle school student feeling successful

It’s been just over a year since I graduated Arthur Morgan School and being back on campus for a few days, it feels like very little has changed. I feel fifteen again, scared and excited for whatever comes next, taking for granted my community, my safe place, the thought of being far away still very much a hypothetical. But reality tells me that I am sixteen now, still scared and excited for whatever comes next, but hopefully taking less for granted.

Campus is still beautiful, quiet like it always is in summer, the only sounds being the crickets, the birds, an occasional door closing or opening and – when things are really quiet- the ticking of clocks in Elizabeth’s Hall. Coming back to AMS as an alumna kind of feels like when you’ve been on a long trip and you finally come home. It’s a space that is not only your own, but also familiar, welcoming, safe. 

Transitioning to High School

This year was simply put, a lot. A lot of new things, a lot of confusion, a lot of trying again, a lot of learning, a lot of growing. When I began high school at Olney Friends School, my transition process was long. Thankfully the people in my life, many of them allies that I gained while at AMS, were patient and forgiving. At one point I thought maybe I couldn’t do it, maybe I wasn’t ready for the strenuous academics of a college preparatory school, the social pressures of high school, or the independence of a boarding high school.

But I stepped back and returned to the roots I had grown for three years. I leaned on the people I knew would lift me up and thought about how if I can survive an 18 cross country field trip in middle school, then I can definitely try again. So I did.

middle school student working on an small engineLessons Taken

Being in the AMS community for three years taught me that nobody is just one thing. You can be strong and vulnerable, struggle and succeed, be a lumberjack and a writer. You can be intelligent and not always right,  powerful and still need help.

I am really glad that AMS taught me to ask for help, to reach out when I need something, because if I hadn’t I would not be returning to Olney. I would not be going back to some of my best friends, as a student leader, full of ideas for positive change in the community, excited to participate in more classes than I can count.

Going to AMS gave me a lot of skills and tools that I’ve used this year. The responsibilities bestowed upon ninth graders prepared me to lead by example in the classroom, in a dorm setting, and in community service projects. Social advising enlightened me to the idea that sharing your emotions can be a positive thing and showed me the importance of making time for fun. All School Meeting made me listen to other people and think before responding and showed me the right way to change something in a community. Workin on the farm taught me the importance of knowing where your food comes from and that hard work pays off. These are a few of many crucial lessons I learned while at AMS that have helped me all throughout my first year of high school and will continue to help me in the future.

-Rey Sadoff