As the first quarter of our 2017-18 school year comes to an end, I wanted to do my part to give new freshmen on campus my best advice for surviving — and even enjoying — their years in high school.
As a freshman, there’s a lot of pressure to “fit in” from the moment you step foot on campus, no matter what “group” you place yourself in — even if you feel like you don’t have a group, you feel like you have to find your own place. Everything about your school life changes freshman year: your social groups change, teachers change, and the way you are treated and expected to act changes. High school is a crazy shock to the system, but maybe I can help.
My first tip for all you freshman is to stay organized. I’m not saying you have to be totally Monica Geller from Friends, but you definitely need some kind of system. I would recommend color-coding notes and planners with pens, as they are inexpensive and can help you keep track of homework and studying. Also, keeping up with some sort of planner can help you balance all of your homework and daily tasks. Establishing a system for organization will seriously help with the academic aspect of school.
My next tip is for the all-important social aspect of high school. Finding quality friends can make school way more enjoyable, especially when things get stressful. A great way to make more friends who have similar interests as you is to get involved; Wa-Hi has over 30 clubs and sports you can join, either with friends you already have, or on your quest to make new ones. Even if you’re not sure you’re in to any of the activities offered at Wa-Hi, you should branch out and try it — you never know, you might love it!
This year, I joined a sport I wasn’t sure about, and ended up having an absolute blast. I have made so many more amazing friends and memories because of it. As a freshman, I didn't get involved at all, and I grew apart from many of my middle school friends. Now that I've become more involved, I have met so many great people that I would have never gotten to know if I hadn’t started putting myself out there in high school.
My next bit of advice is sort of a no-brainer, but necessary nonetheless: do your homework. You’ve heard it a million times before from everyone, from your parents, to your teachers, to your little siblings, but homework is an integral part of your success in high school. Homework is practice, and if you’ve ever played a sport or attempted to hone a skill at any point in your life, you know that you pretty much suck at everything the first time you do it. The same concept applies to homework, in that even if you’re terrible at what you are doing or feel totally lost, you can’t improve unless you put in some time and effort.
Not only that, but for many teachers, homework counts as points toward your grade. Those few extra points actually do make a difference in the long run, and homework can be the extra points you need to bump your grade. There’s always somewhere to go for help, too, like the Academic Lab or Whitman science and math tutoring.
My final tip is for your physical and emotional health. Most of us will admit that high school isn't a walk in the park, and I’d seriously encourage you guys to nap as much as you can. I’m not saying fall asleep in class or sleep your life away, but if you’ve found some free time in your busy schedule, take that time and have a good power nap. A study conducted by Harvard Medical School concluded that napping is proven to diminish stress and boost your mood, and that time to recharge could be just what you need to focus on your next test. Even getting enough sleep at night can do wonders for mental sharpness.
Lastly, I wanted to settle some potentially frayed freshmen nerves by asking a few freshman what myths they have heard about high school.
“I heard that you’re going to be lost the whole year, that it’s hard to find your classes,” Jovanny Flores said. However, he found that myth to be busted: “You have a map, you have everything you need to get to your classes.” Another myth brought to our attention by Citlai Perez is that high school wouldn't be fun, but she admitted that, in all honesty, her experience so far has been pretty fun. Another myth busted.
Last but not least, everyone at Wa-Hi has heard of the infamous “creeking” incidents of years past. I can, however, confidently assure you that, based on information from a reliable source, no one has been creeked at Wa-Hi in over five years. My guess would be that’s because whoever does the creeking is appropriately punished, so don't get any bright ideas.
Don’t stress so much, and you guys are going to kill it in high school.