Growth: All Shapes and Sizes
Students at Riverside Brookfield High School undergo change and growth that can impact them for their future.
The word “growth” can be interrupted in different ways. Webster defines growth as: the process of increasing in amount, value, or importance.
“When I hear the word growth I think about intellectual growth or just simply becoming more mature,” said sophomore Taylor Savino.
Throughout high school students will experience things that will open their eyes to a bigger more and realistic world.
“The word growth makes me think about physically and mentally becoming stronger, as well as having a more open mindset,” said sophomore Brianna Quick. “I also believe the word ‘grit’ goes along with growth.”
Grit and growth indeed have correlation because grit means courage and resolve; strength in character.
“Growth makes me think about people becoming stronger, bigger, and more developed,” said sophomore Matthew Lams.
The teachers and students that children will encounter at RB will impact their lives in terms of growth constantly.
“As a freshman the upperclassmen as well as teachers made me feel welcomed on my first day,” said Savino. “They made a place for every student.”
As well as a warm welcome, teachers know that children need to be pushed in terms of potential for progress in growth.
“The teachers at RB have been teaching me that nothing comes easy and it has made me mentally stronger and more prepared,” said Quick.
Every student at RB has a specific counselor to provide students with extra help and outside of school.
“My counselor, Mr. Franco, has helped me tremendously by opening my eyes with expanding my knowledge about other colleges rather than the select ones I had in mind,” said Quick.
When the person succeeds, it motivates others to go through the process of growth as well.
“At RB you are always learning something. I’ve learned from other people’s mistakes and faults what is best for me and my improvements with growth,” said Lams.
Outside of school, everyone has their own type of support system.
“My family and friends have always supported my decisions, whether it be academic or not,” said Savino.
Though these students are only in high school, there is still room for more growth. Whether it be in size or in mentality.
“I hope to stay myself, but I strive to be the best version of myself consistently,” said Quick.
Growth: Trying to Fit in
No one will ever stay the same. People change and become different from how they used to be. Students at Riverside Brookfield High school look much different than how they used to look in middle school.
“Physically, my body and looks have changed a lot”, said Sophomore Julian Gonzalez.
Sports here at RB, as well as the weight room, have helped many students get physically stronger and more confident. Change however, is not always physical.
“I have become a lot more confident in myself and I have become a happier person”, said Junior Lidija Kutlesa.
Students personality have also changed a lot since middle school, mostly for the better.
“In middle school I was a lot more annoying and tried to be funny”, said Sophomore Richie Roman.
Middle school was a tough time for everyone. A lot of things started to changed and everyone was trying to find their place. High school becomes more set and stone. Students find where they belong, what they like and who they want to hang out with. Middle school is that transition stage that is awkward for everyone.
“I have become more hardworking and learned the responsibility of being a teenager”, said Sophomore Emmanuel Garza.
With the much larger workload than middle school, and much more things to worry about, many of us were slapped in the face with reality and forced to grow up quickly. Many of us learned new things that we never had to learn before and had many more responsibilities.
“The people I have met and surrounded myself with are people who I never thought I would even talk to, so it is a really cool experience”, said Freshman Sydney Hamer.
Some of us decided to step out of our comfort zone, and tried new things, many of which have lead to good rewards.
Growth Mindset: Overcoming Mental Disorders
People can grow in ways besides the physical. Growth is often associated with literally growing in size or even maturing. It is not common to think that people can also grow mentally, especially after overcoming something like a mental illness. Having to cope with something along those lines can really change someone, and often times for the better.
“I think one of the biggest things students struggle with is depression and anxiety,” said Melissa Carey, a counselor at Riverside Brookfield High School.
Depression can be one of two things. There is situational depression, where something has happened in your life; maybe you’ve lost somebody important, or you’ve gone through a really bad break up. What you experience is definitely a form of depression and that’s something that maybe with time and some support, you can get over and move past.
Then there is actual biological depression, where there is an issue with the chemistry in your brain. There is a chemical reason you are experiencing these symptoms and these feelings. In those situations, we would say this is something you need to have treated by a doctor and a professional psychiatrist and possibly look into medication”.
About 7.6% of adolescents struggle with depression. Even more common, an estimated 10% of teens struggle with an anxiety disorder of some kind. Many teens have to cope with mental illnesses on a regular basis, which likely will get in the way of their academics, athletics, and life as a whole.
“I overcame depression and anxiety. I’m not quite sure how it started. I think it’s been there my whole life, but it’s definitely become more severe since I started high school,” said sophomore Audrey Santora. “I was finding it hard to even come to school and I was having a lot of trouble with everyday things. That’s when I realized I need to get this taken care of.”
Having to deal with the pressures parents, fellow peers, society and even students put on themselves as well as all the life changing decisions they make at this age can really take a toll on them. It’s extremely important for anyone that’s struggling with mental health to become aware of it and take action.
“I was really really scared but I was at a point where I thought that living with my illnesses would’ve been scarier than going and getting the help,” said Santora. “I was worried about school, and how getting help would affect those things and how it would affect my social life but I realized if I’m not mentally healthy, nothing else really matters until I am; I can’t live to my fullest if I’m not in the right place.”
Going to get help is the first step to getting past a hardship such as a mental illness and helping someone overall grow as a person.
“I have grown immensely since my depression started. I have been struggling with depression for many years and it is a constant uphill battle,” said freshman Noelle Harazin.
Recognizing a problem and working to fix it could turn a bad situation into a good one. Being able to overcome a troubling event or situation can really help someone to grow as a person and teach them a lot of beneficial things.
“Whenever I’m going through something I just tell myself you’ve gone through things you didn’t think you could get through and that seemed like the end of the world, but you’re still here and you got through it,” said Santora.
Whether it be learning life lessons, more about yourself, gaining experience, or even understanding and sympathy, getting past a mental illness will offer good things to a person and their future, despite the difficulties that are to be overcome in the moment.
“A big thing for me is that I compliment people a lot, I encourage people a lot, I try not to be snotty or rude and if I do I apologize. People take that as me being fake but I find lifting others up gives me a purpose. I’m not just here for myself,” Said Harazin. “It sounds dumb but little things like a compliment, you never know what’s going on in someone’s life and even saying hi to someone in the hallway can make their day.”
Growth: Academic Success
For many students, high school is a transition period from childhood to adulthood. It encompasses many levels of educational growth and maturity that bridge the gap between the foundation laid in middle school, and the more rigorous studies to be expected in college.
Sophomores in particular experience this transition uniquely; they are no longer the new kids on the block and instead have had a year-long adjustment period, enabling them to more effectively identify the nuances of their school. Although the first semester of freshman year is more centered around fitting in, a daunting prospect in the eyes of many teenagers, second semester allows students to become better acclimated to their school and explore their individual interests.
As freshman mature, their work ethic follows suit, according to sophomore student Milos Petrovic, describing his journey from middle school to sophomore year.
“I tried to stay more focused and get better grades. It didn’t go as well as planned, but then from freshman year to sophomore year my seriousness and focus rose dramatically, and now my grades are better than ever,” Petrovic said. “I’ve just been more focused and am trying more to reach my goals in life”.
In addition to extracurricular involvement and personal hobbies, sophomore students make immense transformations when it comes to academic and educational habits. Looking back on his freshman year, sophomore James Reilly pinpoints what helped him attain success in his first year of high school.
“Back during freshman year. I had a biology teacher who worked his classes really hard, which we hated, but because of all the assignments and pages of homework graded for accuracy, I can safely say I reached my full potential in terms of main ideas learned in biology,” said sophomore James Reilly.
“I also used to tutor math back in 8th grade so teaching others helps you become more familiar with a topic than just reading and practicing it,” said Reilly.
The common denominator among these students is that they have strengthened their current academic strategies in great contrast to their former ones, whether they improve their own work ethic or assist their peers in recognizing their capabilities. Sophomore Ava McCarthy is one such student who has observed the growth of her classmates.
“In freshman year a lot of people didn’t write very well in English, like a lot of words were weak and they had bad transitions, but I’ve seen classmates grow in that aspect into using really good transitional phrases in their writing and lots of good adjectives,” said McCarthy
Over the course of high school, students tend to make leaps and bounds in their academic abilities and work ethic, that is recognized both by their peers and teachers.
Growth: Beyond RB
As we approach the end of the school year, the senior class is preparing to graduate and move on to life beyond high school. They are turning 18, becoming more responsible, and overall becoming more mature. They entered high school as teenagers, and are leaving as full grown adults. All of their choices and experiences have lead to them becoming the person they are today. However, that does not mean that they are done growing.
Some still have growing to do athletically as they move on to a new level of athletics and face tougher competition.
“There’s just a lot that I don’t know yet that I hope to learn in the future that will help me continue playing at a higher level,” said Asher Runyan-Randruut, a varsity baseball player.
Others have pursued an art form, working on their craft and facing challenges as they’ve grown, and preparing for more in the future.
“Since I’m self taught, there’s a lot I need to learn, and being an individual in the art world, I think getting inspiration from the people around me is important to grow,” said senior Alana Novak, a photographer.
There are some who feel that as a whole, they still need to work on themselves and finding who they are.
“Throughout high school there’s been so many experiences that have led me to grown into the person I am today. Moving forward, there’s a lot of things for me to experience and grow further. It’s like a train track, and any experience could change the destination of my life,” said senior Garrett Schnulle.
No matter where you are going or what you are hoping to study or do in the future, growth is necessary to become a better version of yourself and be successful. Age is never a mark of maturity or ability, but experience and work is.
Growth: Room for Improvement
To some, growth is how tall you have gotten since last year. To others, growth is changing as a person.
Ten things you can do to improve your growth:
One: Learn from your mistakes. If you make a mistake, you do not want to make it again. So learn from it. That lesson will one day make you a better person.
Two: Make amends with the people you dislike or are no longer friends with. By doing this you will not have the weight of hate on your shoulders anymore and that will be very relieving.
Three: This may sound very cliche, but change the way you eat. Eating healthy can make a crazy difference. After eating healthy you can become healthy and happy.
Four: Do things that make you happy. If you enjoy going on walks, go on walks! If you enjoy dancing, dance!
Five: Change up your room to spice up your life. Out with the old and in with the new.
Six: Love yourself. Loving yourself will help to give you confidence. You will better treat yourself amongst a crowd.
Seven: This goes along with loving yourself. Always put yourself first. Do not change to please others.
Eight: Reach out to new people to get more friendly people in your life. Negative people can put a harsh impact on your life and having them around can pull you down.
Nine: Know who you truly are without the influence of anyone else. Spending time alone can help with this.
Ten: Make sure you know this will take time. The process of growing can be long and hard.