Grade 8 Reflections on Our Time at Bedford

A photo of the front of Bedford MIddle School.

A photo of the front of Bedford MIddle School.

Alex Gaines, Mack Haymond

A feature from two peoples’ perspectives – sounds crazy, right? Well, you’ll be reading my writing (Alex Gaines) in these cool italics. My friend Mack’s writing will be written in a normal, non-italic font style. Say hi, Mack.

So, Mack, what did you think of these past three middle school years?

I’ll be frank. My time at Bedford was a trainwreck. The eighth grade this year has had zero normal school years. In total, I can only recount about two weeks of normal sixth grade before Coley came over: barely enough time to settle into an entirely new school system.

Yep. I think a trainwreck is a pretty good analogy. I remember walking to lunch in 7th grade as rumors went around about spending 2 weeks at home because of the Coronavirus. I saw kids surround Dr. Rosen and beg for answers. They honestly looked like wolves. Or maybe, keeping your analogy in mind, they looked like… Wrecked trains?

Don’t think that one works as well. Still, the idea holds true. We’ve continued to face these obscene issues that only arose when WE showed up at Bedford. It really put a lot of pressure on us to push through the problems we faced.

But we learned from that trainwreck. We learned that even during a global pandemic, we can still make good memories – with a little bit of advice.
Like knowing that a Coleytown-merge wasn’t as bad as it seemed – it actually benefited our graduating class when we were in 6th grade as we made new friends and met the people that we’ll now be attending high school with. But it’s not just our grade. I mean, my younger sister, who’s about to finish 6th grade, still has yet to open a Bedford locker. And there are 5th graders who are about to experience middle school for the first time – what do we have to tell them?

I’d say the most remarkable thing about my years at Bedford is that through it all, I did absolutely fine. To some degree, we all got through it. Didn’t you, Alex?

*blinks repeatedly*. Yeah… uh, sure. Actually, I’d say I barely survived.

Well, that’s besides the point.

Yeah, I think we still have some good content to tell the 5th-grade kiddos. I’ll start off with a tip for any younger kids reading: This whole middle school thing ain’t as complicated as it seems.

Throughout my time here, I constantly felt incoming defeat, a looming darkness up ahead. But I never got to it. It always kept pushing back, until the year was already over and there was no more darkness. Even though I perceived it as impossible, I always got by fine.

Agreed. I was terrified when I realized I had no idea where my theater class was in 6th grade, only to find out the auditorium was not 500 feet away.

Time and time again, we expect the worst, seeing middle school as this huge monster, when it’s actually pretty approachable.

But I’m glad everything here wasn’t as “big” as we thought it would be when we were 5th graders. The six-page essays didn’t really feel that long, the social fights and drama were settled quickly, and there were a few nights where I actually got my homework done pretty quickly. Kind of.

Even though it wasn’t perfect, it was something, and I had a pretty good time.

I’ll end this chaotic mess of an advice column by saying that, for the 5th graders who actually wanted to read a middle school newspaper article: you’ll find your friends. You’ll find your easiest and hardest subjects and your favorite teachers. Don’t be planning who and what those are – just know that you’ll find them naturally.