Surviving Your First Year of High School
by Colleen DeGennaro
So, you’ve finished middle school. Congratulations! It’s a big accomplishment to pass through primary school and move onto the next phase of your life. Pat yourself on the back: you’ve
The next few years coming up will most likely be some of the best of your life. However, it’s important not to get ahead of yourself. Don’t rush into ‘adulthood,’ and remember to enjoy yourself. Here are a few honest tips that will be sure to help you succeed in your freshman year of high school.
1) Do your homework! It isn’t possible to stress this enough. Not only is this an easy 100 that will boost your grade, it will also help you apply the skills you learned during the day to real life situations. Obviously we would all rather spend the night browsing Instagram or watching an episode of Parks and Recreation, but by practicing what you learned in school at home, you can better prepare yourself for upcoming exams, classes, and in some cases, long-term career paths.
2) Get involved at school. Try out for a sport, audition for the spring musical, even just spend a few hours after school hanging out with your friends or studying in the library…whatever it is, maximize your time in the building and form a bond with the community there.
3) Making friends isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Everyone has doubts about themselves, but it’s important to understand that there are plenty of people out there who will love you just the way you are. For me, it was taking the train with the same group of girls every day to and from school. For others, playing a team sport or being a part of a club helped them make friends.
4) Do not get involved in drugs or alcohol. Plenty of the shows on television, video games, and even young adult novels will tell you that by drinking or smoking, you’ll have a great time and be a true ‘teen.’ Don’t listen to that! Not only will you get in serious trouble if your school finds out (some minors can even get jail time depending on the severity of the offense), but it can ruin your prospects and negatively impact your life.
5) Don’t worry about getting a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner freshman year. You’ll have plenty of time to do that later, in your upper years and in college! Right now, focus on your studies and make sure you’re adjusting well to the workload, commute, etc.
Next, here are some more specific tips that will make life easier.
1) Pack a ‘survival kit’ and keep it in your bag/locker at all times. Some examples of items to put in the bag: concealer; lip balm/chapstick; makeup remover wipes; oil blotting sheets; bobby pins; hairbrush; hand sanitizer; roll-on perfume; deodorant; hair ties; pads/tampons; mints; small pack of pain reliever; lint roller. (These are just some examples; mix and match to your liking!)
2) Keep an extra pair of clothes in your gym locker in case you want to change after school for any reason. And, if you wear a uniform, make sure to have an extra skirt in there, too.(I’ve learned that the hard way!)
3) Depending on how much you have to carry around with you, it’s sometimes better just to carry around a tote bag or small purse with what you need in it rather than a bulky backpack, especially if you’re commuting. Remember, you can always keep extra books in your locker!
4) The app PhotoMath can really help a struggling student. It utilizes the camera on your phone to help you solve a difficult math problem. That being said, don’t just copy down the answer! Be sure to look through the steps until you understand it.
5) Headphones and a charger are a high school students best friend. During study periods, I find it extremely helpful to listen to music. It helps me focus!
6) Don’t be afraid to decorate your locker. It helps your new school feel more homely and can make you feel more comfortable!
7) Eat well at school. Bring some kind of a fruit or veggie with you, and make sure you get enough protein during the day. Also, drink lots of water! Remember, food = energy, and you’re gonna need plenty of that to get through high school!
In short, high school can be fantastic, but only if you put enough effort into it. Don’t slack through your first year. And remember, above all, enjoy the high school experience you’ve been hearing about your whole life.
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