Dear Scared Incoming High School Freshman,
Wow. Freshman Year. I can hardly remember what it's like to be in your shoes right now, bright eyed, bubbly, and so eager to begin a fresh start, about to enter the highest degree of education before leaving your home town- high school!
As long ago as my freshman year was,, what I can still can recollect is the feeling of joy and excitement I felt at entering a new scene- I had the ability to start fresh after middle school. (Literal Hell! I think middle school was pretty rough for us all...) I was free to become the girl I've always wanted to be. New classes, new friends, new halls, new sports. High School is just such an exciting time period. Let me cut to the chase though, because this isn't a reminiscence fest for me. What I am here for is to give you some helpful advice on how to start this year right, and how to have the best high school experience possible. So, let's get into it! (Boy, do I sound like a youtuber or what?)
Alrighty so, I know that you are going to hear this a million times, but the friends you walk in with are not going to be the same ones you walk out with. It's kind of crazy, honestly. Looking back, I began high school with a totally different group of girls than It looks like I'm leaving with. I'm fine with this, though, funnily enough. It's surprising, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. I never believed anyone who gave me this advice, but now I'm starting to understand. Listen, it's not that your friends are going to leave you necessarily, but your group is going to change. It's not even that your circle is going to become smaller- it's just that it's going to change a lot dependent on which sports you join, what clubs you take part in, your class schedule even, and honestly, even simply the levels and caliber of the classes that you're taking.
Luckily, there's a plus side to this whole friendship fiasco. You're going to meet so many new people you never talked to in middle school. You might even become best friends with girls and boys you were scared of in middle school, or people you thought that you would never cross paths with. Don't be sad that your circle is going to change- see it as a new chance and opportunity for growth and diversity.
Let's focus on some other things- like enjoying your time in high school and not worrying about friendships fading. Here is some detrimental advice- get involved. Please. You are going to become so much happier when you're busy, active, and involved. Honestly, sports and clubs are one of the main ways to make friends, too. My best friends are the girls I do my sports with. I've even become super close with people just by sitting next to them in a class or by being a part of leadership in clubs with them. Even if you're scared, join a sport. Any sport. Join marching band or join field hockey. Be a cheerleader, join choir. Literally anything is possible, you have a blank slate of four whole years in front of you.
It's okay to make a mistake, by the way. You may join soccer freshman year and hate it. The following year, you could join tennis and discover it's your true passion. The coaches and the players are going to understand. It's all about your best interest! This was hard for me- stopping one sport to do another was pretty intimidating. But, as it turns out, the coaches understand, and they truly just want to see you happy and thriving.
Let's talk about academics, now. Form good relationships with your teachers! These are the people that you're going to need when it comes crunch time and you need some good, well-written recommendation letters for college. Keep your GPA up! The first two years of high school are the most important for cultivating and maintaining a good grade point average. Grades are important. I'm not saying to stress yourself to death over them, but definitely put plenty of effort and time into your academics. It will truly be worthwhile in the end.
Freshman year is amazing. You are going to have so much fun and you're truly going to discover yourself for who you are. Remember to stay true to yourself. Always watch out for yourself and the people that you love. I know parties seem fun- trying them out to see if they're your thing is fine, just make sure you don't get too wrapped up in having fun that you end up letting your grades drop. Sometimes you're going to need to say no to fun in order to maintain your grades, keep up with studying, and to make sure you build a bright future for yourself. Do everything with the future in mind. Live in the moment, but also try your best to make sure your actions today don't require consequences that you have to pay later on.
Popularity truly does not matter. Don't even think about it or focus on it. Be yourself, be with people who make you happy, and do things that make you happy! It literally does not matter how "well-known" you are or how cool people see you as. See yourself as awesome. Love yourself. Self-love is SO much more important than anything else. Have confidence in yourself. You owe it to yourself to build the life you've always imagined and to become the person that you want to be.
Here's a tiny piece of advice- remember to take some me-time, sometimes. Get some snacks, a fuzzy blanket, light a lavender-scented diffuser, and binge watch some Netflix. Sometimes, you just need some me-time. That brings me to another valid point- get comfortable with sometimes having to be alone and independent. Especially when you get your license, you're going to have a lot of independent and alone time. Don't be afraid to go places alone. It's all good. Be that mysterious, independent, and cool chick who gets things done, even if she has to get them done all by herself. It's pretty fun and exciting, actually.
Don't procrastinate. You're going to be so much happier when you're stress-free and successful than you would be cramming and trying to have fun while having responsibilities lurking in the back of your mind. One more piece of advice... get a weekend job! You're going to want a car junior year, and you're going to want to go out with your friends. You're going to need money in order to do all of these things.
Overall, freshman year is genuinely a lot of fun. It's a learning experience, really. You're going to enjoy it. Get involved. Focus on your schoolwork. Try your best to balance yourself both academically and in terms of your extracurriculars, without having a mental breakdown. When the day comes that you are stressed to the point of boiling over- remember that you have people who love you. You have friends, coaches, teachers, parents, and even guidance counselors. They are there for you. Use them.
I really hope that this article offered up some decent advice to my incoming freshmen. As I wrote this, the feelings of being the new kid in a new school all came flushing back. That's a good thing, too, after all, because come a year from today, I will once again and perhaps for the last time, be the new kid in school- in college!
Good luck with your freshman year! If you ever need anymore advice, you can literally come to me. My Instagram is @taylorcontarino. Pop through the DM's if you need some life-changing advice :)
The Senior Preparing to Enter Her Last Year Of High School