THE BLOG
01/30/2013 12:21 am ET Updated Mar 31, 2013

From Private to Public

After going to private school for seven years, switching to a public school and going into my first year of high school was a scary experience for me. The transition is like going from living in a house out in the countryside where you know all your neighbors to an apartment in the city where there are lots of people. At private school, life is very different from public school. At my private school, the class sizes were very small and the atmosphere was very sheltered because everyone knew each other, and everyone trusted one another. By comparison, at my current school, the class sizes are huge.

One of the biggest adjustments in the transition from private to public was the social aspect. At my old school I knew all the kids in my class, and there were rarely any new kids. At my new school, there are so many kids and so many different types of people. The shift is massive. I prefer the public school because I get to meet more new people. At my old school, my class was tiny and there were only one or two new kids each year. I didn't dislike anyone in my class, but after a while one can get bored; new people are more interesting. Finding friends hasn't been a problem at my new school.

Another difference is extracurricular activities. Private school, for me, was like living in the country, where there are only a few things to do and almost everyone did them. Public school, on the other hand, is like going to the city where there seems to be an infinite number of things to do. Finding an extracurricular activity that you like is an important part of high school in the sense that in addition to school you have another leisure activity to do in your free time. Joining a club or sport helps you meet people and have an activity to do. At my private school, the opportunities were very limited and there weren't new people to meet when joining an activity -- but at public school, you're guaranteed to meet some new people and try something new.

There are also small differences, such as having to write my first and last name on worksheets. At my old school I was the only Philip, so on worksheets I just had to write my first name. At my new school, that's not the case, so for every worksheet I have to make sure I write my first and last name. Another thing is attendance. My old school was strict about being late, but not nearly as strict as DCPS. DCPS is very strict on attendance and the penalties for being late are harsh -- for example, if you are late to class more than three times per advisory quarter, your grade is lowered a letter. I don't struggle with being on time, but it's a little disconcerting to think of penalties. Another thing is the rules: My private school was like the neighborhood out in the country where everyone trusts each other and the rules are never really enforced because nobody breaks them. But in my new school, although people don't necessarily break the rules, but there are much stricter enforcements and punishments if it does happen. An example is hall passes. At my old school, nobody used hall passes because they weren't needed. Nobody needed a hall pass because there was no chance anyone would try to sneak off campus or try anything mischievous. At my new school, you need a hall pass whenever you have to leave class.

Overall, there is nothing to be scared of when switching schools. Nevertheless, I think the country-city switch has given me more opportunities both in and outside of school, and has given me another view on life. I'm grateful for both styles.

Subscribe to the Lifestyle email.
Life hacks and juicy stories to get you through the week.