Written by: Abby Gopsill
When I first walked into Harbord at Grade Nine Orientation, I wasn’t scared. Compared to my old school (which only had 36 students per grade), Harbord was massive, and by all rights I should have been terrified. There were so many more rooms, teachers, and students. But I was with my friends and felt invincible. It took all of five minutes for that to be ruined. The moment I got my schedule and saw that I didn’t have a single class with any of my friends, high school went from being exciting to terrifying.
The hallways confused me. I have a bad sense of direction to begin with (if I can’t see the CN Tower I have no idea which way I’m looking) and there was something about the H format that really messed me up. I didn’t learn where my classes were until the end of grade nine. I’m still never certain which doors will take me to the right side of the street. If we’re being honest, my ability to maneuver the school now is based more on memorization of my classes than actual common sense.
A lot of my teachers seemed intimidating. In my middle school, we addressed all the teachers by their first names, which made them seem approachable, and the small classes allowed for our teachers to know all of us by name within a month. After that initial “Do you actually know who I am or are you just handing me this test because I raised my head when you called my name?” phase, when my teachers learned my name and face, I begun to feel much more comfortable with them. Now I have teachers who can tell the exact moment when I start to space out in class and how to get me back. I’ve even saw one of them on vacation in Costa Rica and was comfortable enough to stop and say hi.
The mass amounts of students ended up being one of the things I love most about Harbord. Every year I meet people that I previously didn’t know existed and make new friends. My classes are always different and full of lots of diverse opinions and personalities. It spices up high school when you have a lot of options as to who you’d like to hang out with. I find it really enriching.
I’ve felt a lot of things about Harbord: an extreme distaste for it on Monday mornings, complete terror for the first bit of grade nine, a sadness and glee in knowing I’m half way done, and tremendous adoration for the people here. My impression of Harbord is nothing like it was when I first arrived, and I have a strong suspicion that I’ll feel completely different about HCI when I’m graduating next year.