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Peer acceptance poses challenges

The unfamiliarity of a new building, new teachers, harder classes, and more homework seem overwhelming. Yet one of the greatest struggles of high school is fitting in with peers.

Many students feel awkward in a new school situation.

“When I first came here, it was like everyone was a big family,” Andrea Munoz, ’06, said. “I felt out of place.”

The issue of fitting in is difficult for many teens. Some will try and get involved in school activities in order to meet other kids while others wait for people to introduce themselves first.

“To meet other people, I went to football games and got involved in school events,” Chris Burford, ’04, said. “Class floats and Night of the Stars activities helped me to become more involved on campus.”

Many students feel insecure about their personality and hesitate to meet new people. Often they are worried about what their peers think about them, and as a result they struggle with their own personality.

“Just be yourself,” Micah Walker, ’05, said. “This school is so diverse there is always someone to fit in with. Find someone to be with and get to know them.”

There are 289 students on campus this year, a near record, including 46 new students and 72 incoming freshmen. With this new influx of students, some will search for someplace to fit in while others will wait to be approached first.

“I waited for people to come up to me and meet me first,” Samantha Grizz, ’07, said. “I didn’t know anybody and kids came up to me and talked to me first anyway.”

In high school, cliques are never uncommon. Most of the time, cliques can be helpful with meeting new classmates. Yet sometimes people involved in them are unwilling to move out of their ?comfort zone’ and invite newcomers in.

When cliques are expanding and welcoming new friends, they are great groups to become a part of.

The acceptance from peers is not only faced by students, but by adults as well. Though their high school years have passed, adults still face the challenges of fitting in with their peers at work, church or other social activities.

“When I moved to Spain, I felt out of place because I wasn’t a Spaniard and most people around me were from there,” Annette Sarkissian, science and geometry teacher, said. “After I moved back to the United States, I really felt out of place because it was so different from what I was used to.

“People here are more focused on what they do for a living and not so much on their own personal matters, whereas in Spain people are focused on personal stuff. Also Americans are more competitive.”

Whether one is changing countries, schools or classes, change can be a difficult and stressful challenge but can result in positive outcomes.

For more information on events or students go to articles in this paper or to www.fresnochristian.com.” “Madeline Ervin, Photographer” “After teaching English as a second language in Korea during the 1995-96 school year, Annette Sarkissian, right rear, went to seminary and studied for three years and graduated with a Masters of Divinity at the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in 2000.

Here Sarkissian watches over her physical science class while junior Danny Ortiz, ?05, center, sophomore Christine Belden, and freshmen, David Tusan and Kyle Brewer are memorizing the elements chart on Sept. 2.” “” “” “

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