Incoming High School Freshmen: A Survival Guide

Written by Vayda Otti

The idea of being a freshman in high school is daunting to many and has a stigma attached to it, courtesy of cheesy old-school movies. We see that people go to high school and get stuffed in lockers and have their lunch money stolen from them. But it’s not like that most of the time.

Coming from someone who has survived being a freshman recently, I feel like I can give people solid advice. So here is your ultimate survival guide to freshman year. 

  • Upperclassmen don’t care… The idea of locker stuffing and lunch money stealing is a total myth.  In fact, I’m not sure how it is at other high schools but at mine, no one even uses lockers. I question why they haven’t been dismantled. Students just walk around with their backpacks. As for the lunch money thing, most if not all upperclassmen go off campus for lunch. As you can tell, upperclassmen really just keep to themselves and each other. There’s no hazing of the underclassmen let alone the incoming freshmen.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help… On my very first day of high school, I got Iost, shocker. Even if you walk and re-walk the route of your schedule prior to school starting, you’re likely to let nerves get the best of you and will forget where a classroom or two is. You don’t have time to let the fear of upperclassmen get to you. Ask them for help! The moment I got lost I turned to the nearest person and asked for directions and they were happy to help. If you can’t muster up the courage to ask other students, don’t feel bad about asking staff members. They know the school more than you do and are probably used to getting asked for directions.
  • Do your work… Although you are just a freshman, high school is where you start preparing the most for university. Complete all of your homework assignments, do extra credit if it’s offered, study, come in for tutorials, etc. After all, these things can only help you rather than hurt you. Plus, if you get in the habit of doing those things as a freshman, they will carry with you throughout your entire high school career.
  • Don’t hate, participateWhile I won’t say that high school is the best four years of your whole entire life, I will say that it can be used as a time for you to discover some of your interests and make new friends. High school offers more clubs and extracurricular activities than middle school and you can get so much out of joining them! Even if your friends aren’t in a certain club or playing a specific sport but it’s something you think you’d enjoy, join it. You’ll find people with similar interests and form new friendships. It also just looks good on your resume so you’re benefiting yourself all around.
  • Make smart choices… Peer pressure doesn’t necessarily exist at my school but I know it does at others. For some, the pressure can even be internal and the struggle to “fit in” and “be cool” might be overpowering. Well, you heard it here first, doing things in order to make yourself accepted by others is actually extremely lame. You can go to parties or hang out with your friends and have a good time without the use of drugs, or alcohol, or vaping, or whatever modern day invention there is next. Partaking in these illegal acts may get you points with your friends but it surely won’t put you at the top of your class. If you feel like you need to do these things in order to fit in, then you need to find yourself a new group of friends to hang out with because there are people in high school that don’t drink or do drugs, believe it or not, and those are the people you want to surround yourself with.
  • It’s just not that serious… In high school, you might get caught up in drama — be it with friends, a significant other, etc. You might find yourself stressing excessively about grades or caring about popularity or dealing with fakeness. At the end of the day, there is life after high school. The petty drama of today won’t matter years from now when everyone graduates and moves on to forge their own paths in life. Quality over quantity is a rule that I follow religiously. Find your core group of friends & focus on getting good grades, getting that diploma and adios. You’re donezo.

So there you have it. A blunt/honest guide for incoming freshmen. If you abide by these tips not only your first year of high school, but all throughout, you’ll be just fine. If you’re to take anything away from this, it should be that your high school experience is completely up to you and what you make it. What you put in, you’ll get out. If you go through it with fear, you’ll always have fear. If you go through it with a negative mindset, you’ll always feel negative energy. You have control over every decision you make which will in turn impact your experience (i.e your friends, your classes.) High school goes by quicker than you think. So, don’t make yourself miserable!

Written by a high school student, for high school students.

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