What I wish I knew as a High School Freshman (Part 1)

Angelique Gingras, Author, Editor

Freshman year is an interesting time. You are entering your final four years of grade school, and leaving behind your awkward middle school years for bigger responsibilities and better opportunities. You’ll probably hear this phrase a dozen or more times: “These 4 years are going to fly by!” Take it from me, that’s the truth.  

High school is going to be some of the best and worst years of your life. You will face challenges like you never have before, but you will also meet people who will help shape the person you are. Being a senior this year, I have had many experiences that caused me to think, I wish I knew this when I was a freshman. Here are some pieces of advice I had gotten as a freshman.  

  • Ninth Grade may be the most difficult year you’ve had yet, but don’t think it’s going to be the hardest. This one is plain and simple. Now, if you don’t know already, it’s only going to get harder. The two most difficult classes I had my freshman year were my math and history classes- and they still are my hardest classes. On top of that, I have sports, activities, clubs, all while trying to find the time to get my college applications done. I’m not telling you this to scare you, but I want you to be prepared for what lies ahead.  
  • Don’t carry your entire life in your backpack. This is probably my biggest flaw! It’s really important that you use your locker throughout the day, and if you don’t have one, get one, because you are going to get tired of carrying seven classes on your back all day. If you are like me and bring your computer, multiple utensil pouches for pens, pencils, and sharpies, and your multiple textbooks back-and-forth every day, you may have a problem. Before you start your day, think about what you need at what times. If you know you’re not going to have time to work on your AP US History homework during lunch, don’t bring your textbook to school!  
  • Put your phone down! Now this one doesn’t relate exactly to school, but it’s a very valuable lesson. With the increase of schoolwork being online, it can be hard to separate yourself from your cellular device. But when you decide to take a quick break from your studies and three hours have passed by that you’ve scrolling on Twitter and Instagram, it becomes a problem. I bring this up now because I went through the same thing. It took me until a month during my junior year when my phone broke, that I learned to disconnect myself. I found that I would get my work done more efficiently, because I wasn’t checking my notifications every five minutes. It’s okay to do schoolwork on your phone, just don’t get distracted by the little things.  
  • Don’t put your health second. If you have ever been super stressed over schoolwork and it has led you to a mental breakdown, or you’ve gotten injured during the schoolyear and you can’t take some time off because you’ll never be able to catch up on your work, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Whether it’s physical or mental health, it’s really important to take of yourself. Now that doesn’t mean take a ten-minute mental health break every five minutes while you’re studying for that math test, but rather remember that everyone has been through something similar. Talk to your teacher or counselor, they WILL understand.  
  • Make friends with upperclassmen, but don’t rely on them to stand by you forever. Making friends with upperclassmen is great because they have a wealth of knowledge about what high school is like, whether it’s help with your classes, or teachers, or what to do during lunch. However, they are not going to be with you forever. Once they graduate and go off to their college and careers, they will have bigger things to focus on than talking to you at lunch every day. I’m not telling you this to discourage you because you can always stay friends with them; but they’ll be a time when you have to figure things out for yourself. When the time comes, you can help the new generation of incoming freshman.  

These are some of the words of wisdom I wish someone had told me when I was your age. Stay tuned for part 2 of “What I wish I knew as a High School Freshman.”