Freshman Year Survival Guide

School opening logo and letter design (Photo: Logan Cheriff, staff writer)

By Logan Cheriff, staff writer

If you’re a freshman, you’re about to finish your first semester of high school. First of all, congratulations. That’s a big deal. This time last year you were in eighth grade, and as I’m sure you’ve realized, high school is definitely a change from middle school. COVID seems to have thrown everyone a real curveball no matter what grade you’re in, and we’re still seeing the effects of that today. Sophomore Nathan Beck acknowledged he was “kinda nervous” entering his freshman year of high school, especially because it was his “first year after distance learning.” It makes sense that a portion of the freshman class was also nervous about entering high school after missing an important in-person year of middle school coming out of sixth grade.  Now as we enter this next semester, I can’t promise it will be better then the first, and I won’t threaten it’s going to be worse. What I can do as someone who’s been there is give you some advice. Consider it my gift to you, a basic rundown of what I’ve learned and gathered about making it all the way through your freshman year in one piece. 

Get Involved: Fortunately, the freshman group as a whole seem to be thriving when it comes to class involvement and school spirit, totaling 34,424 Minga points as of Nov. 14. which is only 3,738 points behind the senior class.But some freshmen still seem hesitant to take a step out of their comfort zones and attend school events. So here is my first piece of advice:

 Whether your definition of getting involved is going to school dances, sporting events, or joining clubs, you should follow through. Joining a club or finding a group of people with similar interests can set the tone for the rest of your high school experience, and it’s not too late, even halfway through the year. “Join communities that you are passionate about. If there’s a club that you are passionate about, if there’s a program you’re passionate about, join it. Because more likely than not there’s going to be people who are in that community that are also super passionate about that, so you are able to create connections with people with the same interests… rather than classes where you don’t know very many people,” senior Will Mosier says.

If you’re curious about a certain club, finding your footing or a jumping-off point may be the hardest part. If you don’t know anyone else in your year in a club it can seem scary and intimidating to make new friends. That being said, don’t be afraid to make friends outside of your year. The second piece of advice I have for you is to…

Befriend the Upperclassmen: When surveying for this article, I asked the question “What do you think about the upperclassmen?” and most replied with things like “they’re scary” or “they can be very intimidating.” This may be true, but I can assure you most juniors and seniors recall feeling the same way about the upperclassmen when they were freshmen. There is another way to look at it, though. The upperclassmen have seen it all and probably been through most of what you’re dealing with now. If you ever need help or advice on something, asking an upperclassman is a pretty surefire way to get a solid answer. As pointed out by Beck, “Ask some of the upperclassmen around because they know the campus like the back of their hand.” Need help with a class? Ask a senior who took it last year or the year before. Curious about basketball? Approach someone on the team. Most juniors and seniors are happy to give you any advice you need. 

Now my last piece of advice…

Dedicate an Appropriate Amount of Effort Towards School Work:

The best part of being a freshman is you’re finally in high school. Now that you’ve graduated eighth grade you’ve got to act like it. You’re in the big leagues now, and it’s time to play the part. High school can be a lot of fun, but making sure you’re on top of your schoolwork is one of the most important pieces of advice I can give you.

I’m sure you’ve heard it from your parents or some other important person in your life and the more and more you hear it the easier it is to forget. Even though it sounds redundant, do your best to keep your academics off the back burner. Finals are coming up, and so is the second semester. Do your best to make it all worth it. I’m sure you’ll thank yourself later whether your plan is to go to college or not.

While all this is important don’t lose sight of what’s important to you. There’s still space for a good time in your busy schedule and a balance between work in play is achievable.  Relax, enjoy yourself, and have a great winter break. The next three and a half years of your life at this school are going to be whatever you make of them. Hopefully, you can make them count.

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