October 25, 2018
Being a freshman is hard. The first year of highschool often seems to be a gauntlet of perpetual awkwardness, to hopeless navigation through identical hallways, and seemingly unwarranted “freshman hate”.
Belonging to a subset of the student body, a program, is generally seen as a way to protect oneself from this unfortunate experience of the masses. The security of “default friends” is a luxury that non-program generally do not have access to. However, this security comes with drawbacks that slowly manifest as the year goes on. The welcomed opportunity to quickly forge strong relationships (due to six hours of shared classes) soon turns to the restrictive seclusion of students that prevents making friendships with non-program students. This, along with six hours with the same thirty personalities, can often lead to conflict and resentment.
This is especially true of the Law and Public Service Program, here at Colts Neck. By nature of the course material and discussion-oriented classes, the students are set up to have diverse, (sometimes conflicting), views that are conducive to healthy conversation. When thirty kids, most with strong political affiliations, loud voices, and confidence in their correctness, come together for hours of conversation oriented work, the result can often be taxing on the ears and minds of both the students and teachers. This is often seen as the worst part of our program, yet, I have found that it is also one of the most valuable unlisted experiences included in the program. Although some may not share this perspective, it must be acknowledged that being a member of the LPS program alters the highschool experience in a fundamental way.
Our new freshman class of LPS (‘22ers), have now been thrust into this program-altered highschool landscape which they must now navigate. But, they have one essential difference: they are now part of a class of fifty kids, rather than thirty. This has a few quantifiable impacts on the nature of their classes: they have two LPS classes per course (of roughly twenty-five students per section), and there are at least three to four fellow LPS ‘22ers who they do not meet with in any of their classes. This difference has the potential to significantly alter their LPS experience from those of the classes that came before them. As pioneers of this LPS expansion, they have a unique perspective worth exploring. Over the course of the next months, I will be examining the various aspects of the freshman LPS program, in the context of our current events and national polarization.