MSMS students look back at eventful first semester


Maryann Dang

Students walk toward the dorms after classes. Pictured are (from left to right) juniors Rhianna Drake, Munjyot Singh and Sai Narla.

Maryann Dang, Staff Writer

And scene! The first semester of this school year is over.  MSMS is unlike any other school in Mississippi because not only do our talented juniors and seniors juggle their rigorous academics, but they also traverse through the difficulties of living away from home and other responsibilities on campus.

The first semester was a whirlwind for juniors adjusting to this new lifestyle and seniors dealing with the changes that come with their new status. Students have navigated through the adjustments at MSMS in various ways.

Junior Elena Perry said she experienced several ups and downs during her first semester at MSMS.

“I feel like I wasn’t prepared enough for this. It [MSMS] is good. I like it,” Perry said. “The people here are great and so are the teachers. But I feel like the teachers at my old school didn’t prepare me enough for something like this. The first week of MSMS specifically was a lot.”

Junior Ava Grace Noe said her first-semester experience was a mix of both satisfaction and mental exhaustion.

“I’m definitely tired,” Noe said. “I think that’s the first word I would use. It’s been great. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. MSMS is fantastic, but it’s a lot of work. I am truly exhausted.”

Despite the lack of experience among juniors, the challenges of MSMS are not exclusive to the junior class. Senior Hilldana Tibebu said she knew the lows of MSMS but appreciates the highs as well. 

“I feel like I’m really getting prepared for college. I’m being really challenged, but at the same time, I’m having a lot of fun with my friends,” Tibebu said. “Compared to junior year, I feel like this year has been a lot busier because we’re going straight into the academics. Plus, we’re leading clubs. But at the same time, it’s been a lot more fun. We’ve already gone through homesickness in our junior years, so there’s less of that and more of just being with your friends.”      

This year is the first year since 2019 MSMS students have arrived on campus without strict COVID-19 policies. Senior Nathané George said they were especially appreciative of the new policies implemented this year. 

“We don’t really have masks anymore, so I get to see what everyone looks like,” George said. “That’s a big thing. I get to connect face to face with everybody and have that human interaction.”

Though MSMS presents its fair share of challenges, students still find different ways to appreciate the opportunities here at MSMS.

Junior Alex Allison said he was surprised by MSMS’ diversity and the thoroughness of its academics. 

“I’d never thought that I would see so many Black kids, Indian kids, Asian kids, Hispanic kids, etc. all in one place. It’s really surprising, especially for a place like Mississippi,” Allison said. “Also, I’m really surprised by how the teachers really try to make sure you understand the material. Going through every step, making sure that if we need help, we can get it, being very transparent and taking time out of their day to help us — all these things are pretty amazing.”

Junior Maple Griffin said she has already made important memories at MSMS. 

“One night, we were running back to the dorms before the doors locked in the rain. It was such a wild thing, but it made me think, ‘Wow, this is just a normal thing that we do here,’” Griffin said. “Or, when my friends and I were laughing uncontrollably in the library, I just thought, ‘I get to do this on a nightly basis now.’ Just little moments like that every day make me feel so lucky.”

For juniors, the first semester was the beginning of the next two academic years of their lives. For the seniors, it’s the beginning of the end of their high school careers. Either way, many students seem ready to take on the rest of this year. 

Allison said he has a straightforward plan for his future at MSMS. 

“I would just like to see myself in a good position to move on to my senior year,” Allison said. “I hope to have all the grades I want while maintaining a steady relationship with my friends — pretty much just making sure my social life and academic life are balanced.”

Tibebu said she hopes once her high school career draws to a close, she’ll look back on the year with pride. 

“I hope to see myself very proud of what I have accomplished, even the little things like getting through some of my classes,” Tibebu said. “However, I hope I don’t spend that last month of school wishing I had been perfect, nitpicking at every little mistake I made, because of course, this is a journey. I hope I’ll have grace with myself and just be really proud that I made it to that moment on graduation day.”