5 Things I Would Tell a High School Freshman

We live and we learn, and to me, I’ve come to see age as more than just the number that signifies your years of existence, but also your years of mistakes, wrong turns and growth. It’s been four years now since I’ve been a freshman in high school, and when I now think of all the things I thought I knew as I took on a campus that seemed as big as the world and a journey that seemed way longer than four years (a position similar to the one I’m in now), I’ve found myself with five things I wish I had known my first time being a freshman.

 

1. Don’t let it scare you.

The transition from middle to high school is often overlooked in the grand scheme of things, as people often prefer to talk about the transition from high school to college, or even the transition from elementary to middle school. But the change is a lot, and it’s easy to let fear sink into what used to be confidence. Don’t worry about the seniors that seem to know exactly what they’re doing -- they don’t. Don’t underestimate your own intelligence just because you’re sitting next to a sophomore in math class, and definitely don’t lose that fun tye dye shirt you used to wear all the time just because you don’t see it on anyone else. Don’t let it scare you, because four years is a long time to be afraid.

2. Your grades matter.

It’s easy to fall into the preconceived notion that your grades are just as relaxed as they were back in middle school, and while your first priority is to make sure you're staying healthy and sane (it’s easier said than done), it’s also important to make you’re challenging yourself.

3. Bad teachers aren't as bad as you think they are.

You’ll get them -- everyone does. It’s harder than you think at first, but it’s easier than you thought toward the end. They can seem scary and apathetic and everything you wouldn’t want in a teacher, and while all of these things may be true, it’s important to remember that they’re not rooting for your failure. They may be hard, but they’re not being hard specifically on you. Being attentive in class may seem nerdy but could also be the difference between a hard teacher that likes you and a hard teacher that doesn’t.

4. Your friends will change.

It will happen, and it’ll be hard. It’ll be hard watching them drift away just as you feel like you need them more than ever, and it’ll be especially hard when it seems like they’ve replaced you. But as you go through your years and meet new people to share even more exciting experiences with, you’ll find yourself connecting with people that seem so much different than that one best friend that may have gotten away when you were 14, but will be close to you and your heart just the same. Don’t close yourself off to the idea of new people, because they will make every experience a little sweeter and every long night a little easier.

5. Love it while it lasts.

It may not always seem like it, but it’s going to end, and you’re going to miss it. Relish every long night, even the ones that involved too many textbooks and not enough time. Don’t get caught up in the antics of a high school hierarchy, because it may seem like a system when it’s really just a joke. Make sure to tell the people you love that you love them, because saying the words over a video call from two different cities and two different dorm rooms will never be the same. High school isn’t what it’s made out to be in the movies -- it’s more.