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Freshman Year

How to Cope With the Transition to High School

Written by @electrists

A few tips for your first year of secondary school.

Don't Sweat It: Your Social Life

Real friends aren't made in a day. You’ll eventually come to find a group of people who you fit with; but it you’ve got to be patient. It took me a long time to find a group of friends I liked being with, & who I could be myself around. In the meantime, be friendly & open. You might miss the chance to make a great new friend if you’re snappy, rude, or sarcastic towards everyone. High school is a good chance to escape your emo phase, after all!

Speaking of which, don’t have the mindset that you’re going to stick with your friends from middle school. Chances are, whether or not those friends attend your school, you’ll likely find yourself becoming distant over time. The probability is you’ll keep a couple of those friends, & make even better ones throughout high school.

Stay away from toxic people who try to exclude others, or are mean to others for the sake of being cooler or better. Not invited to the pretty girl’s birthday party? Who cares? Don’t let that stuff bring down your mood or self-esteem. Try to be a part of a decent crowd.

Speaking of toxic people; DON’T BE ONE!! Try not to gossip too much. It sounds cliché, but things you say will make it back to you at some point. Don’t say everything you think, and don’t believe everything you hear. High school also happens to be the place where rumors fare best. However, if a serious rumor gets spread about you or someone you know, ultimately the best thing to do is tell a counselor or a parent. Mental health isn’t something you can measure by just talking to someone or seeing them around. If someone is harassing you or constantly bothering you & you feel okay with confronting them, do it. Don’t let anyone think it’s okay to fuck around with you. It’s never okay.

DO NOT!!! TRY!! TOO!! HARD!!! TO LOOK!!! GOOD!!! Trying to look good takes effort that isn’t necessary. It simply isn’t worth it. I would recommend doing as little as possible to get ready in the morning. You do not need to look good for anyone but yourself. Personally, I only gave an effort on picture days, school events, and dances.

Don’t date upperclassmen. Usually, there’s only one thing they want, & even if it seems like it’s a genuine person, you’ll break up once they leave school. The last thing a senior wants is for their gf/bf to hold them back when they graduate.

You do not need to attend any dances if you are uncomfortable with them or just plain would rather stay home. It’s only a big deal if you make it a big deal.

Don’t go out finals week, before any major assignment, or the two nights before an exam. Distractions are real, & very damaging! As fun as high school can be, it’s best to make good, lasting habits that will benefit you in the long run. With your education as your priority, it’ll be much easier to achieve scholarships & acceptance letters from colleges.

Give yourself a couple mental health days every semester! Only use them when you really need one. If school is the cause of real psychological suffering, please talk to someone. Don’t keep it to yourself.

Keep Your Priorities Straight: Your Academics

Carry a planner. You may think you can remember things, but even if you’ve got a good memory, a planner will save your butt when you least expect it. It’s also helpful because you can visually plan the steps you need to complete for a big assignment or project, or planning your study time for a final.

UTILIZE TEACHER OFFICE HOURS. Every school has a different name for it; tutoring, teacher hours, office hours- point is, they’re there for a reason. Use them. Take advantage of them. Teacher office hours are a great place after/before school to ask any questions you might have, or to simply get to know your teacher better. Going to office hours does not make you look dumb in any way- you’ll thank yourself later for attending. By going to tutoring hours, your teachers get the sense that you care about succeeding in their class. They will remember the students who regularly and ask questions or incite thoughtful conversation. So, grab a teacher after-hours schedule and try to go, especially those classes you have the most trouble in! There’s usually less students there as well, so you get more individualized help and attention. I used to go every day just to finish my homework in a good environment so I wouldn’t have to do it at home and have my school work interfere with the other things in my schedule.

Preventing procrastination prevents all-nighters. It is inevitable, but by instilling a habit of not procrastinating, it is less likely that you’ll ever have to try and finish a five-page essay in a night, or cram for a major exam in one day. It takes 21 days to make a habit; make a good habit of doing all your work in a timely manner right off the bat!

HOMEWORK & PARTICIPATION COUNTS. Check your syllabus to see how your class grade is broken down, chances are, your homework + participation grade make up a hefty chunk. Good homework habits will help improve your grade. Even if you’re tired and feel like death, try to complete your homework for at least a partial grade. If you really are unable to do your homework because your mental health is at a low or because things in your life interfere with your work time; TELL YOUR TEACHER. Ask for an extension. Ask if you can turn it in late. It’s worth it. They’re more than likely always going to try and understand your situation. At the end of every quarter, a couple weeks before grades come out, I made sure to ask my teachers in every class about what work I’m missing, and made a list to find SOME way to complete it. Turn it in. A 15% is better than a 0%.

Also, ask questions in class! Often, someone has the same question you do and just don’t want to ask. Asking questions and making comments will increase your participation grade; an easy way to boost your grade a little!

GET ENOUGH SLEEP AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE! I started to sleep late my freshmen year, and I regret it. TO THIS DAY I’ll fall asleep anywhere. Because of my bad sleeping schedule, I kept falling asleep during my SAT and that’s why I did so poorly (that’s why I encourage taking more than one SAT/ACT but don’t worry too much about that now).

Grades don’t define you, but making good habits to get good grades will help give you lots of opportunities and options when you finish high school.


Freshmen advice: you will lose friends and meet new people and discover so much more! 🌻  You can start all over again, forgetting the past and its problems. Good luck ! 💛
Always be yourself because that's how you'll find your people, your true friends.
Even freshman year is important for your GPA. Don't take it lightly. And the seniors are never up to any good. Don't let yourself fall into their traps. He doesn't love you, he just wants to [have sex]. Be weary of that”
Freshman advice:
-wait until the first day of school to actually buy notebooks and stuff cos some teachers may have certain requirements and others none at all
- don't stress about your friend groups too much; you will meet a ton of new people at school and your friend groups will probably change
-talk to your counselor if you have any problems with some of your classes in your schedule
-join clubs, do a sport, get into a music class or do something new like that. You'll meet lots of new people and it'll look good on an application if you plan to go to college
-this is probably gonna sound really vague, but, look for loopholes.
-if you're taking AP or honors check online for any summer homework
-check online for summer sports-y stuff too
-if your school doesnt give you one, I'd recommend getting a planner
-try not to fail classes, you'll have to retake them and it'll take the place of an elective
-make the most of your freshman year cos it's the easiest and it only gets harder after that.
My advice to freshmen going into high school would be to enjoy it and stop rushing things. Do what you want without fear of judgement because people won't remember in a couple years anyway.
I wish I would've told myself that it's okay to let go of long-term friends, even if it means starting over.
To my freshman self: take every day one day at a time! Create checklists to not only help you organize your work but also to make it seem less overwhelming at times. DON'T PROCRASTINATE JESUS CHRIST. Try to keep your attitude positive about life c:💝💝
If I had to give advice to freshman I would say take risks every now and then. Especially, if you are shy because that is how I was. I missed out of some exciting opportunities because I was too scared. It's okay to be scared or shy or nervous, but don't let it stand in the way of something you want to try. Sometimes if you try it it will be one of the best things you could have done. This goes for sports, clubs, friends, yourself and trying really.
I wish I knew that my grades and how I do at school don't determine how smart and educated I am...that educational systems are not necessarily created in a way so they can promote students with well rounded personalities and interests...but I will have to try and fit in so later my opportunities fit my abilities and passions!
my advice to freshman would be, don't worry about your appearance so much! Nobody will remember about that pimple you had that one day, or if there's a black stain on your white t-shirt. Literally, nobody cares. Don't spend so much time worry about your outfits, or what shoes you're going to wear, or your makeup, because nobody will remember those things. It may seem like all eyes are on you, but in reality, they're really not. High school really isn't as bad as people make it out to be, so don't be so worried about it!
I would tell my freshman self not to give up on things because of insecurities. A lot of kids going into high school are still not even at the end of puberty and awkwardness is there even with the clothes and the makeup so it can make things hard. Join clubs and reach out to people who you're interested in! Don't just stare at your crush, it won't hurt you to say hello, and definitely study because those AP and honors classes will definitely kick your butt and even if you're not in upper classes, you still need to study and try your best! OH AND DON'T BE SCARED TO ASK FOR HELP! There are literally bunches of people who would be willing to help. Upperclassman will not jump you, they can give some of the best advice and help you get into cool events and programs.
1. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. Procrastination will throw you off and make it 10x harder to keep up with your work, especially those in advanced classes.
2. High school isn't like the movies — upperclassmen will not bully you but will instead avoid you or help you out if needed because they know what you're going through.
3. Make friends with at least one teacher or staff member. This will come in handy all throughout high school if you need help with anything.
Also: do not be surprised if you lose friends. Losing friends is normal in high school, but do not be afraid to open up to other people and try to make friends with people. Half of the people around you are too afraid to do so, so step up and make a new friend.
My advice is everyone is going to tell you it's terrible but it's a great time to grow so enjoy the time while you can. ✌