It feels like so long ago now that I'm going to be a senior, but I still remember how anxious I was to start this new chapter of my life. I spent hours upon hours trying to find hidden nuggets of knowledge that would magically grant me the best high school experience ever. But if I could have read the words of some internet stranger or listened to the advice of a sage upperclassmen back then, here's what I would have said to myself. Here's to you, anxious yet eager to-be freshman.
1. Make mistakes
The ripe young age of 14 calls for new experiences, making mistakes, and learning from them. Don't be so rigid in your pursuit of excellence that you trap yourself in a cycle of high expectations, mediocre results, and self induced disappointment.
As my dad always says, making mistakes when you're young and ignorant is a lot more socially acceptable than when you're older and just expected to know things. Take a step back from the embarrassment of not knowing who this elusive XXXTentacion was and why everyone suddenly started praising him or forgetting to do your summer assignment until the second day of school to reflect on your choices and how to fix it in the future.
2. Take time to enjoy the experience
Albeit that you spend 8 hours, every 5 days, for 40 something weeks of 4 years of your life at this certain brick-and-mortar building to hopefully fill your brain with something other than MCR lyrics and teen angst, high school is just one part of your life. It's not school that shapes who you are, it's the stuff you do outside of school that shapes who you are in school. Now, I'm not saying school should be on the back burner while you focus on your SoundCloud rapper career; but, make sure you make time to do the things that matter to you.
You'll be met with the occasional person that dismissively says, "I don't have time for that" while they cram their schedule with another Science Fair project, a hackathon, and multiple babysitting gigs and comes to school looking like they barely have any life left in them. But the truth is, if you really care for it, you'll find a way to make time for it, whether that's an underwater basket weaving class or FaceTiming your best friends.
3. Sleep is NOT for the weak
Freshman year may not be as difficult as your later years of high school, but it's still important to remember to take care of your health. Often times, you'll want to sacrifice your sleep schedule for an extra hour of studying for a big test tomorrow. Use your judgement, but don't be that person that only sleeps three hours a week and has to down seven espresso shots every morning.
Your mental and physical health should be one of your top priorities along with school. And sometimes, getting that full night of sleep will do more for you than pulling another all-nighter. After all, if you don't take care of the vessel that allows you to work, the vessel itself won't work.
So, to the countless rising freshmen that have their graduation dates already in their Instagram bios despite their fear of the unknown of the coming months, here's to you! You'll do great and the next four years are going to fly by!