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A note from a rising sophomore

If we’re being honest, sophomore year doesn’t really sound that special. I mean, it’s not like freshman year, when you’re learning to adjust to high school, junior year, when you’re finally an upperclassman and possibly looking into colleges, or senior year, when many people apply to colleges (and get infected with “senioritis”). To me, sophomore year seems more like those awkward pre-teen years – you’re not a little kid, but you’re still not one of those moody teenagers.

Seth Peiris makes a good case for looking forward to his sophomore year at CHS. Below: Peiris enjoys being a member of the CHS Marching Band.

That being said, it still has the potential to be an amazing year (or just a decent one, if you lean a little more pessimistic). In fact, there are countless things to look forward to. Of course, these things can be applied to almost anyone attending a school of sorts, so don’t worry if you’re not a ‘special’ sophomore, like me.

For starters, you can try to think of school as an adventure which, to me, means simply experiencing something new. Applied to school, this might be new teachers, new friends, new classmates, or even a new building. Pro tip: When you get your schedules in the summer, try not to take teacher ratings (from sites like or what other people say about your teachers to heart. This way, for one thing, you don’t go into school on the first day with a potentially negative mindset that can affect the rest of the year, and for another, you don’t spoil the adventure of having new teachers.

It also helps to get involved in school life by joining sports or clubs. During the fall, as I had done the year before, I was a member of the Columbia High School marching band, something that I am looking forward to doing again this year. If you play a wind instrument, want to take up a second one, or join the color guard, you should definitely consider marching, as it provides you with a one-of-a-kind community of marvelous people. In addition, I was a member of the Columbia High School swim team, a humbling experience (I lost almost every race) that I hope to be a part of again.

If you still aren’t looking forward to school, that’s okay: You don’t have to go to the first day all excited and passionate. That stuff just helps make it more tolerable. Many days, I dread going to school. There’s the infamous high school workload, zombie-like exhaustion, and sometimes just the thought of so much social interaction. To motivate myself, I think about all the people who might not have access to a strong, reliable education, as we do in Maplewood/South Orange, and the impact of getting an education on my future.

Whether they like it or not, millions of children and teenagers in the USA will be attending school this fall. And while it may be tedious, dull, strenuous, and annoying, we might as well make the most out of it.

Seth Peiris is an incoming sophomore at Columbia High School who wishes you – or a person you know – a great school year.


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