Advice to Freshmen



Freshmen friends smile at the Frosh Social.

Freshman dance at the Frosh Social

To any freshman that reads this, Congrats! You’ve made it through the first of the many, many months of high school. How are you feeling? Stressed? Don’t worry, that feeling never quite goes away. I’m here in print to tell you some things I wish I’d known or listened to when I was in your place, in those first moments of trying to settle in, of trying to balance new friendships, teachers, activities, classes, and pressures.

Let’s start with the basics — Things that everyone knows in the back of their heads, things that seem like common sense, things we still mess up on from time to time.

First off, keep up with your work. Know how many things you can handle and how much is too much. Trust me, getting off to a good start and finishing work before it’s due is incredibly satisfying and sets you up for an easier school year. Write down things that need to get done, even if you think that you’ll remember them without doing so because the time may come when you’re in class and the teacher says, “Pass up [insert assignment here],” and you’re thinking, “Wait, we had to do that for homework?!”

Don’t cram before tests. Let me guess, you’ve heard this one before, haven’t you? But we do it, and I’ve definitely made that mistake before. Getting ahead on studying gives you time to not only memorize content in a smoother manner, but also to communicate with teachers and other classmates if you don’t quite understand something. Those hours (or minutes) you would spend staying up late to cram could be better spent on precious sleep, which, no matter how good you think you are at pulling all-nighters, is very important to your mental and physical health. Bonus, getting ahead on studying is just overall less stressful.

It’s okay to make mistakes or ask for help! Whether you find yourself raising your hand to answer something wrong in class or you get back a test you’d hoped you would do better on, don’t dwell on it too hard; mistakes can be just as important as successes as long as you know how to learn from them. Besides, nobody is perfect. That’s okay.

Now, here are some of the things that took me a little longer to figure out. For one thing, going to high school doesn’t mean having to completely grow up. Sure, it’s a time to start takings things like college and independence and self-care more seriously, but it shouldn’t be a time where you feel like you have to change and grow up too fast just to do something like fit in. Be yourself, and take pride in that. Remember to laugh, smile, and find joy in the sweeter things that come alongside the bucketload of new sources of stress in high school.

And remember that the friends you make during these next four years will most likely last you a lifetime. If you’re confused about where you want to go in life or college or friend groups or relationships or academics, you’ll figure it out. Maybe not now, and maybe not until way past graduation, but you’ll figure things out. Be patient, and in the meantime make the most out of this.