It seems like it was just yesterday that it was the first day of freshman year. I was overwhelmed by all the upperclassmen swarming the halls; they were flamboyant and made their presence known. Suddenly middle school was a faded memory drowned out by the responsibilities of high school–more difficult classes, sports, clubs, study hall, and getting used to a huge, new school. Freshman orientation was supposed to help ease the transition. But every freshman knows there’s more to high school than a couple team building activities at orientation. I wish someone had told me everything I’d need to know before coming into high school. Granted, there are a few ropes I had to explore on your own, but this is the advice I wish I had gotten coming in as a freshman.
1. Get involved in extra-curriculars. Most importantly, make sure they are ones that you’re actually interested in. Don’t join a club just because it’ll look good one day on a college application; find what you like and follow through with that. Niles West has so many clubs and sports you can be involved in; there’s literally something for everyone. I can’t stress enough how many people already regret not joining clubs and sports freshman year.
2. Manage your time wisely. Everything catches up with you sooner or later, especially around finals. Don’t get too caught up with Tumblr and Facebook, because trust me, you’ll be over flowed with late work sooner or later. Plus, teachers usually start with the easier assignments and gradually push on the more difficult work as school continues.
3. Use the resources that are available to you. The Lit Center is always a great resource to take advantage of. There’s a tutor there for anything you need help with, some teachers can meet with you in the Lit Center before, after, or during school too if you really need extra help.
4. Finals do matter. Pay attention and do your homework during the semester so that you’re not cramming and teaching yourself new material the week before your finals. I know I could have done so much better on some of my finals if I had done all my homework during the semester. Teaching yourself a whole semesters worth of geometry in two days is not a fun experience, trust me.
5. Go outside of your group of friends. Don’t feel obligated to stick with the same friends you had in middle school. Each grade has tons of kids in it, sticking with people you’ve known your whole life limits you to new experiences you can get from opening up your social circle. You make a lot of new friends in high school, and it’s okay if you don’t keep all of your old ones; try make the best out of the situation.
This is some advice I wish that someone would have given me coming into high school. Most importantly, remember to stay focused throughout your high school years, and enjoy the freedom given to you.