Second Semester for 8th graders: Temperature check

I am a very sentimental person, so when the last day of the first semester came to an end, I went home and began thinking about how I felt about the beginning of the second semester. I sat on my bed setting goals for myself, feeling sad because half the school year is over, but at the same moment, feeling relieved and happy that I have more free periods and have managed to create a consistent schedule. Everyone has come so far this year, especially after a year on Zoom. This is the last year of the class of ‘26’s middle school experience. Not many people are overwhelmed by the fact they’re approaching high school in a short four months but many considered not having to move into a new campus, where the transition between eighth and ninth grade won’t be as extreme. However, everyone’s shocked at how quickly the year has gone by.  

“I mean, It’s so weird– just weird that the school year’s ending so soon. It feels like zoom was just yesterday,” Sofia Giovine ’26. 

After a full year online, coming back to in-person school has been a drastic change for many. People have fully integrated into the Harvard-Westlake (HW) community and gotten used to the school schedule. 

“My grades are going up and I’m really enjoying myself and I’m academically improving,” Skyler Steiglitz ’26 said.

 Many people are setting goals for themselves before the second semester begins. 

“I definitely am trying to get my grades higher and have more motivation to do my homework,” Mitra Ayati ’26 said. 

People are working on their time management, effort on assignments, and raising grades. 

With the new semester comes new electives. One of the things people brought up most is their elective classes. 

“I have less electives so I have more time to do homework and destress,” Ayati said. Others have fewer X periods compared to the first semester and are eager to spend less time dedicated to work or class. 

“I’m not really happy [about the second semester], I guess it’s because I don’t have my robotics elective anymore though,” Emil Palmer ’26 said. 

People are excited that they had a new elective class to try out, sad they can’t participate in an elective anymore, and/or are looking forward to their X periods. 

After one semester of in-person school, most people are loving getting off of Zoom. “It is way better off zoom, I can spend more time hanging out with people,” Giovine says. 

Similar to Giovine, Ayati adds, “I got to know more people and experience being on the school campus– like going to the cafeteria.” 

Near the end of the first semester, I was incredibly nervous about entering the second half of school. However, I’ve found the first few days not as daunting as I had expected. Although I’m so sad the school year has gone by so quickly, I’m also excited about a new part of the year, it’s definitely bittersweet.

A semester into the school year has proven to have given people a better understanding of the community as well as created a happier atmosphere. New friendships have been created, bonds between students and teachers strengthened and the general excitement of coming to school has made a better learning experience. The school year is halfway over and for the 8th grade, it has been exciting and quick.