Seventh grade was over. Not officially, but all of our seventh-grade memories had been made, all of our classes seemed to be winding down and all of our work had been taken off the classroom walls.

I had decided to try Yearbook as one of my electives that year. Distribution Day had arrived, and I was proud of the work I had put into the book. However, nobody seemed to notice any of it; upon receiving their yearbooks, most people flipped straight to the back, where their friends could sign it.

If that had happened in elementary school, I would have been upset – “Nobody appreciates my hard work!” But not anymore.

Instead, I joined the fun.

When the 50 minutes of signing time expired, I perused the comments my friends had left me. I noticed that at least half of them came from people I hadn’t known a year ago.

When the year was officially over, cheers of “We’re eighth-graders!” rang throughout the school. I couldn’t believe I had actually experienced my first year of middle school already.

I searched for my friends, since we had planned a visit to downtown Los Altos.

I thought about how, a year ago, this never would have happened. Back then, I never rode my bike anywhere, and I rarely socialized outside of school.

In sixth grade, with my small but tight group of friends, I had composed a new version of Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb,” which we performed at our sixth-grade promotion ceremony. It described our journey over “Mount Almond,” and how we looked forward to tackling a new mountain, Egan Junior High. At that moment, I didn’t truly feel that way. I had been an Almond Eagle since kindergarten, and I viewed middle school as a huge, terrifying, inescapable thing that was looming too near.

But I continued on.

After reminiscing about old times, I began to realize that being a middle schooler – being an Egan Viking – has its own benefits, including having much more freedom. And I became more outgoing as I made new friends; I feel more natural in a group setting now than ever before.

All this does not mean that my academic side hasn’t improved greatly also. Having a different teacher for each subject put a lot of pressure on me at first, because I didn’t want to make a bad impression on anybody. I had no need to worry. By the end of the year, I was on good terms with all of my teachers and received grades that made me happy in all of my classes.

Throughout seventh grade, there was a massive amount of new content to absorb, terrifying deadlines and usually a pile of homework each day. But I adapted to these changes after a short while, learning time-management skills.

For those entering seventh grade, I have only one piece of advice: Keep in mind that many other people are probably feeling the same way you are, so there’s no need to feel confused or lost.

I remember a day when I was struggling to wrap my head around a certain math concept. To me, it seemed like everyone else in the class had it down, until someone asked a question regarding that topic. Then, everyone began asking questions, and we slowed down the class so that everyone could understand it. This helped me realize that I wasn’t the only confused one, and that it was OK not to get something at first. Everyone else was in the same boat.

If you are entering seventh grade, I wish you luck, and I hope your journey is just as exciting as mine was.

Emily Han is an eighth-grader at Egan Junior High School.