11 Pieces Of Quick Advice To High School Freshmen

11 Pieces Of Quick Advice To High School Freshmen

Class of 2021, listen up and learn a thing or two (especially you, Will)

My days in Savannah are limited at this point. As I continue to get ready to move up to Emory, my mind has been trying to pull together every bit of high school wisdom to leave with my brother who just started his freshman year last week. I know he will have a very different high school experience than I did since there is no universal high school experience. So, Will (and the rest of the class of 2021), here is the best advice that I can give to you.

Freshman year winter dance

1. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Let's just go ahead and get this one out of the way. Ask for help. You aren't expected to know everything right off the bat. That would be an unrealistic expectation.

2. Worry about actually learning, not about your class rank.

I did not graduate as valedictorian or salutatorian. Those things aren't as important as they seem. Getting an education and learning is what's important. If I had been solely focused on maintaining the highest GPA in my school I would have missed out on many different opportunities throughout high school. Take the extra class or the class that might really challenge you. It'll be worth it.

3. Don't give up the things you love just to take more academic classes.

If I had dropped music to take more academic classes I would have been miserable. Continuing what you are passionate about is more important than one extra science class, and colleges will agree. They want to see commitment in the things outside of the classroom. You will find a balance between your passions and classwork. It will work, I promise.

4. Form lasting relationships with your teachers.

Obviously, this one is pretty important to me (see my article "Why My High School Teachers Were My Best Friends Senior Year"). Not only will they become your friends, but they will also be the ones writing your college recommendation letters senior year. Just important things to be thinking about.

5. Not all friendships last and that's OK.

I lost many friendships throughout high school, and they broke my heart. To me, one of the worst feelings is having someone that you were so close with and shared so much of your time with, and then realizing you don't have that anymore. It happens. My advice, though, is to cherish your friendships while you have them. Love people well. And if the friendship doesn't last remember the memories fondly and go find different friends.

6. Make friends outside of school.

Now, this isn't always the case, but with my friends, the people that stuck with me for all four years were people outside of school. Most of my friends were from church and from youth orchestra. So find friends outside of your school or your classes. It'll be worth it.

7. It's never too early to start thinking about college, but don't obsess over it.

Find what you like in a school, and what you don't like. You don't have to know exactly where you want to go to school until very late into your senior year, but go ahead and get your feet wet. I went to an honor band at a very large public university my freshman year, and while I had a great time I knew large universities like that were not for me!

8. Take care of yourself.

Whatever that means to you. Mental health, physical health, whatever. You're important and you need to stay healthy. Get sleep, see a doctor, eat good food. Do what you need to do. For me, it was running and seeing two specialists for mental health. Don't be afraid!

9. Take lots of pictures!

And back them up somewhere so you don't use all your storage on your phone. No matter what happens you'll be able to look back at pictures and remember the good memories.

Seeing one of the Marvel movies freshman year

10. Spend time with your family.

They are your biggest support through high school and through everything you're going through. Make sure you spend some time with them. Have dinner with your family, call your grandmother, snapchat your cousins. It'll mean a lot to them, and you'll be glad you took the time to do it.

11. There is no telling what will happen in the next four years.

High school was a whirlwind for me. From family health problems to crumbling friendships, to a relationship that shattered right before senior year. There is no telling what your experience will be. The important thing to remember is that no matter how hard it gets there will always be people around you that love you and that will support you in everything that you do. No matter what, you will make it through.

And then just like that you're on the other side and headed for bigger and better things in college!

Cover Image Credit: Rachel Jennings

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Things I Miss Now That I'm Home From College Again

There are so many reasons to be glad that the school year is over, but if you've done it right... there are a lot of reasons to miss it too.


So, school is over now and I've come home. As expected I was so relieved at first. No more showering with flip-flops, no more listening to screaming girls running up and down the hall, and a space that is mine and mine alone. But after a week or so of being back, there are a few things I've already started to miss.

I know that not every single person has the ideal roommate but I got really lucky with mine. Coming home I was excited to have my own space, but now when I'm doing my midnight scrolling, I'm realizing that I miss being able to talk to her about the funny things I see in that very moment. Tagging, DMing, and texting her doesn't feel the same as a long night of giggles spent together.

Also, while seeing old friends when you get home is amazing, and there is always a lot to catch up on, you do start to miss your other friends too. Being in college means that your friends are going through similar things as you are all the time. You have tests together, clubs together, and sometimes you spend way too much time procrastinating together. The bond you begin to form is one you definitely begin to miss - especially when you guys don't live close off of campus.

Coming home also means you don't have a set schedule or at least not immediately. You may come back to a previous job and that puts something on your calendar, but the free time you still have during the week can be a little too much. I know I've spent way too much time obsessing over the Tati/James drama than I ever would have at school. The routine I had at school kept me busy and entertained, and I'm honestly missing it a lot right now.

There are a lot of other things to miss too - even things you thought you wouldn't. You miss the classes, the teachers, and sometimes the food. I know I miss the environment. It isn't a perfect one, but it's full of people just trying to find their way. We are all working through the roller coaster of life and we are all stuck on one beautiful campus together while we figure it all out. I miss meeting new people at the bus stops or running into old classmates and catching up.

I guess the bonus for me is that I just finished sophomore year which means I have more time to spend at school. Come senior year, I guess I'll have to learn quickly how to deal without the things I miss - and also create a schedule so I can travel to see all of my friends, but those are all problems for future me.

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