We had proven ourselves in the scary seventh grade and were now confident Wolverines. We actually knew where places were on campus. Some of us could even give tours of the Middle School. Classes weren’t too bad anymore. We had built friendships, forged in the collective journey through the unknown the year before. It was time to kick back and relax, safe in the knowledge that our grades wouldn’t get reported to college. We fashioned elaborate protective containers for eggs and then unintentionally attempted to make omelettes on the ground below after their eventual failures. We cheered as burly football player Tucker Best got into a dumpling-eating contest with underdog Cindy Ok. We cringed when he puked all over the grotto after coming up short in the duel. And we groaned when the deans closed the sitting area for a week as punishment. We had cool freshmen friends and would engage in the time-honored tradition of complaining about the class below us. Love was in the air: Olivia Van Iderstine and Bryce Tobias’s six-hour relationship on Valentine’s Day became all the buzz. Life was good, for the most part. But we were ready to take over middle school supremacy as ninth graders.