Updated: Sep 16, 2020
I bet there are about 1,000 articles and YouTube videos dedicated to discussing Freshman year do’s and don’t. What makes my list special? Absolutely nothing. So lets make that 1,001…
Do Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
High school is new and exciting and scary, and it is easy to be timid in the beginning. Don’t be shy; this is the time to test the waters and experiment with life. Figure out what your good at and what you want to avoid at all costs, and for the love of all that is holy JOIN CLUBS! I heard that advice about a million times going into High School; did I take it? Of course not. Do I regret it? A little (a lot). I did join a different sports team every year with a friend though. I could lie and say being benched every tennis game and capsizing during sailing practice was fun, but it wasn’t. What was fun were the memories I made with my friends.
What I am trying to say is, don’t become the senior that thinks to herself that she should have tried something out of the box. Frankly, its cliché, and your better than that. Live your life with no regrets.
Don’t Be Intimidated
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: all the other freshmen are just as new and clueless as you are, and the upperclassmen really don’t care. Its not Glee, no one is going to throw a slushy in your face, beat you up for your lunch money, etc. The worst thing an upperclassman will do to you is ignore you. However, my sophomore year I became best friends with a senior. Grade diversity doesn’t really exist.
You may enter High School with a close knit group of friends, or you may be walking into a new school alone. Either way, make new friends! It’s good for the soul. Talk to the people next to you in class, or if that’s weird, just smile. Having an abundance of acquaintances will make school feel less of a prison. And who knows, one of those “smile” friends could become your new best friend Junior year. That’s what happened to me. Branch out and say "Hi," what’s the worst that could happen?
We all do it. It’s unfortunately a natural instinct we all have. Despite that flaw, it’s not our thoughts but our actions that define us. Bottom line, don’t be mean. The quiet ones that look a little weird are probably the nicest and most interesting people you could gravitate towards. Don’t miss out on forming amazing friendships because of the little voice in our head that makes improper assumptions.
Do Form a Relationship with Teachers
I know, I know, I sound like a mom; just hear me out for a second. No one will call you a Goodie-two-shoes or a Teacher’s Pet. Ask questions in or after class if you’re confused. Utilize extra help. Talk to them; it is literally their job to help you learn. Also, If you need an extension on a project or a test pushed back because of a personal issue, you will most likely get that help if you have a relationship with your teacher. Junior year I got a test exempt after I reached out and asked my teacher if I could have an extra day to study. I told her I was dealing with a personal issue, and she literally emailed me back and said: Don’t worry about it, you don’t need to take it at all. Some teachers would have laughed in my face, but she didn’t. So, get to know your teachers, it helps.
Don’t Be Afraid of a Good Reputation
This sounds weird, I know, but freshman year I didn’t want to be known as the smart girl or the AP student. I wanted to be known for something “cool.” But fighting that “good” reputation only caused unnecessary stress. In High School, you get labeled; don’t be afraid of getting a good one. If you’re in AP classes, love chess, always carry a book with you, please, don’t be wary of your label. You earned it by be being true to your self! Its 2018, nerds like rule the world now. Be you :)
Do Reinvent Yourself (if you want to)
If you didn’t like who you were in middle school, change. It’s that simple. Want to be nicer? Be nice. Want to get better grades? Work for it. Want to be athletic? Try out for a team. Want a new look? Get a haircut. Wear new clothes. Want independence? Get a job. Do whatever you want to do. Test out as many looks as possible, these next four years are a new and fresh start. Spend freshman year testing the waters. New makeup looks, graphic T-Shirts, pink? It’s all yours. But if you like who you already are, please don’t change.
Don’t Lose Yourself
Gosh, it is so easy to get lost here. I did for a little while. I was doing things for other people, not myself, and I didn’t even realize it. I lost sight of my intentions. Don’t let that happen to you. Listen to your gut, and remind yourself of who you are. I promise, you are amazing, and you don’t need to change. But if you do get a little lost, that’s okay. Listen to an old playlist, read your old favorite book, journal, talk to your family. You will find yourself again; I did.
Do Your Best
YOUR best, not your mom’s best, or your best friend’s best, or your sibling’s best. If you work your butt off and get a 65, be proud! It is so easy to get discouraged and beat yourself up, don’t. If you did your best, then don’t stress. Only you know what your best is though; don’t lie to yourself either.
Don’t Be Lazy
If you know you can do better, do better. Seriously, you will regret not working to your full potential when you are applying for college. High School gets hard. Don’t quit, just do it. When you are productive, you feel better about yourself.
Do Take Breaks
You deserve it! If it gets late and you still aren’t done with your homework, don’t finish it. Go to bed. Eat dinner. Listen to music. Relax. Now I’m not saying procrastinate then make excuses for why you can’t finish your work. Start your assignments early; don’t wait for the night before. However, if you get slammed one night, or you are exhausted from practice, give yourself a break. It is impossible to do everything every night. Teachers expect way too much from us.
Don’t Freak Out
Please, don’t get yourself so worked up over a test or a project that you have a mental breakdown. I am saying this from experience; I wish I didn’t stress as much as I did. At the end of the day, one test will not make or break you. If you fail, you fail. If your paper stinks, it stinks. The world will not end, and you are not doomed. Calm down.
Do Flirt Responsibly
It’s High School, I get it, and this is when people start to get real cute. You can flirt around, but respect yourself. Don’t do anything with a guy or a girl who isn’t there to stay. You will be grateful you waited until you are mature to do mature things.
Don’t Let a Relationship Control You
A possessive, jealous partner could potentially ruin you. Be safe, and never remain in a relationship where you don’t feel like you can be who you are. Being in a relationship is fun and exciting, but I promise you, there is nothing sweeter than freedom.
Do Find Happiness in Everyday
It is not easy; I can tell you that. Happiness is a choice you have to make everyday, but it is so worth it. Even when the days feel long (and the afternoon of homework even longer), make sure you don’t wish away four years. First you wish for Friday, then break, then summer… when does it end? Try to enjoy every day, because the present is the only thing you actually have. Stress less and be happy, that is the only way you will make it through.
You got this!
With love and light,