Advice to incoming high school freshmen... from a recently graduated senior
High school can be a transformative time — you're meeting lots of new people, taking classes that are harder than middle school and are given more independence than before. Navigating these upcoming four years can be tricky at times, and as a freshman, you might be nervous to begin this new chapter in your life (I know I was!). But as a senior who graduated this past June, I know that high school was an important time for me to discover my true self and grow as a person. There are a few things I wish I'd known before starting my high school career, though. Read on for tips and advice to give you a strong start for your next four years.
Always be organized with your schoolwork. First and foremost, high school is a time to grow yourself academically and start earning the grades that will eventually be looked at by colleges. To stay organized with schoolwork, purchase a cute planner to remember due dates and assignments, notebooks and folders for each subject and fun, colorful pens to take notes with. This will make classtime a bit more exciting — and not to mention, will make your notes more aesthetically pleasing, too!
Know that it's normal for friend groups to change. Keep in mind that the people you walk into high school with aren't necessarily the people you'll walk out with at the end of high school (although this isn't the case for everyone!). High school is a time where people learn different life lessons that help them develop into who they'll be as young adults — I know I'm definitely not the same person I was at 14. Because everyone is growing in their own way, it's only natural for some friends to grow apart, which can definitely be hard. But as cliche as it sounds, know that as long as you're authentic and stay true to yourself, you'll always find your real friends.
Stay out of drama. I can't emphasize this one enough. There will be mean girls, fake friends and petty arguments at every high school, but do your best to keep out of it and ignore the haters. Instead, focus on being a good, genuine friend to your ride-or-dies, staying true to yourself and concentrating on your own self-growth. Prioritize your happiness and peace over stressful and irrelevent drama — your mental health will thank you!
Always be kind to people. You never know what someone else is really going through or what kind of day they've had. If you see someone sitting alone at lunch, invite them to join you and your squad. Compliment a stranger on their cool new shoes, or let your fave teacher know how much you enjoy their class. The smallest acts of kindness can make a *huge* impact on someone's day, and you'll feel just as good for spreading positivity to others.
High school romance probably isn't like what you see on TV. There's no denying that high school crushes are fun, but whether you're in a relationship or not, romance in high school isn't always perfect and doesn't always feel like its out of a movie (and that's okay!). The majority of people don't find their soulmate in high school — know that there are so many more people you'll meet in the future, so don't stress too much about having the picture-perfect high school relationship.
Find ways to make studying exciting! Yep, you heard that right. While it may seem difficult to study at first, there's always a way up to spice up an average review session — eat your fave snacks while making flashcards, study for that big history test with a group of your besties, listen to some music that helps you focus or even visualize your future for motivation (using Pinterest for this one was my personal fave). Although it seems daunting in the moment, hard work will always pay off, and you'll be glad that you put in the effort to succeed.
Focus on building your self confidence. There are a ton of ways to do this — explore different fashion trends to find your syle, or experiment with fun makeup and hair looks to find your favorites and go-tos (there are a ton of tutorials on TikTok and YouTube to get you inspired). Most importantly, surround yourself with people who will always hype you up, support you and give your confidence an extra boost so you can feel like your best self.
Get involved in extracurriculars you enjoy. High school is a great time to branch out of the classroom to really explore and develop your passions. If you love basketball, try out for your school's varsity team. Curious about the medical field? Volunteer at your local hospital. If you're interested in politics, join Model UN or the Speech and Debate team. Student clubs and organizations are a great way to find people who share your passions, and will give you lots of opportunities to get involved with what you love!
Prioritize academics... but don't forget to have fun. Yes, academics in high school are essential, but don't forget to enjoy yourself along the way! Having a good time is just as important as school — its all about a healthy balance. High school goes by way faster than you think, so focus on making fun memories, spending time with people you love and cherishing each moment you have.
Good luck on your next 4 years! We hope high school will be amazing for you.