Tips for Incoming Freshmen

The transition from junior high to high school is difficult and can be challenging for many. Freshmen sometimes start off on the wrong foot, especially since workload and content tend to be a lot more difficult in high school. This happens more frequently if you coasted through junior high and still got good grades — that won’t cut it here.

As a junior, I have amassed various tips to get you through the year. Let me warn you: I was able to bridge the “mental gap” from eighth grade to freshman year pretty quickly. I was fine with the workload and hit the ground running.

Enough said! Here are some tips from freshmen, juniors (including me), and seniors.

Kellyn Powers, a junior, said, “It helps to build relationships with teachers now.”  This is important for multiple reasons. First, if you have a good relationship with a teacher, you can talk to him or her if you ever have a problem and don’t want to go to a counselor or your parents. Secondly, when it is time to start applying to college, you will need someone to write letters of recommendation for you. Or as Kellyn put it, “Would you rather have the person writing your recommendation letter have known you for six months or a year [or more]?”

Another piece of helpful advice from Powers was to think about taking necessary credits early. For example, the first semester of my sophomore year I took Intro to Speech. As Thuy Vu, a senior, said, “[Take] required classes first; that way, senior year will be less stressful.”

Junior, Eileen Billings, says to “get a homework routine” and to “manage your time wisely.” Managing time wisely seems like a common theme concerning success in high school.

From personal experiences, it is not fun or beneficial to stay up past midnight doing homework. Avoiding this may be difficult, however, because another great tip to enjoying high school is to “get involved in clubs and sports early,” says Billings.

So how do you balance schoolwork and clubs and sports?  My advice is to take advantage of time before school and during lunch. If you typically get to school early, think about going to the library to finish up some studying or print papers out. That extra little bit of time could be enough to relieve stress about quizzes or tests. Also, lunchtime is a great time to do quick assignments. That way, only the bigger tasks are for after school or after your sport.

Finally, Noah Hanson, freshman, summed up his biggest three takeaways for being on track freshman year. He says to focus on “organization, work ethic, and perseverance.” These three tips basically summarize all tips said above, and they lead into each other. If you aren’t organized, there is no way you’ll have the correct work ethic to get anything done. Then, if you don’t have the correct work ethic, you won’t be able to persevere through tough times, like when essay due dates and tests fall on the same day.

Overall, freshman year is about adjusting to high school and having fun. Of course, aim for the best grades you can, but too much stress won’t be beneficial. Good luck to all students this academic year!