A Letter to Incoming Freshmen
By Kat Comer and Maame Darkwah
Dear incoming freshmen, welcome to Blake!
Like you, we were equally as nervous as we were excited. We’d heard many great things about Blake, the clubs, sports, and all the class options. But, we’ll be honest, the thought that school was becoming more serious lingered in the back of our minds.
We knew grades were going to matter more, and college/career decisions were approaching quicker. We took a step back and instead of worrying about decisions we would be making our junior and senior years, we focused on living out freshman year. We would still focus on grades, and we knew our current decisions would impact our future ones. We still decided to take high school one year at a time. When you put it like that, it makes everything a lot more fun.
There are a few general rules for all four years of high school. We call them the basics— a necessary starter pack for any student. No doubt you’ve heard them from practically everyone: parents, counselors, teachers, even older friends, and siblings. Let’s put everything plainly:
- Learn to manage your time. Over the years, you will rack up interests and hobbies. Unfortunately, life doesn’t wait for you to complete one task before beginning another. Figure out a schedule outside of school that works for you and allows you to fit in all the extra-curriculars, assignments, jobs and other tasks you need to do when you leave classes. Keep track of how many credits and SSL hours you’ve earned.
- Explore everything. From the classrooms to the fields, all the fascinating classes offered, the people and most importantly— yourself. Figure out what works for you and what doesn’t, your likes and dislikes, the type of people you want to be around and the type of person you want to be now and in the future.
- Get involved with the school and learn about upcoming events. Knowing what’s going on in your school is very important, especially because you’ll be spending most of your day here anyway. Attend games, talent shows, class council meetings, and clubs. There is so much to do in school besides classwork, so figuring out such things makes school that much more interesting.
- Make new friends. High school gets way more fun when you have people to look forward to. Some of your middle school friends may have gone to different high schools, which makes this year the perfect opportunity to meet new people. Other freshmen are new to the building, just like you, so you won’t be alone trying to find some new people to hang with. Start by introducing yourself to people in your classes!
- Build relationships with your teachers. Being able to walk up to your teacher to ask a question or just to have a trusted adult on your side makes class so much more comfortable. Getting on your teacher’s good side is always a must.
- Use your lunchtime wisely. Students should utilize the single lunch as an opportunity to meet with teachers and discuss any issues there might be. If you need to complete an assignment and know you won’t have time outside school, try and get it done at lunch. Need to retake a quiz? Use the period! Schedule problems? Use the lunch period! It’s okay to step away from your friends once or twice a week to focus on you.
- Blend in. Transitioning to high school can be hard. With a school full of older, more mature students, you don’t want to be that one child. Here are some tips on how to not look like a freshman:
- Realize you are NOT the oldest in the building: You don’t “run” the building anymore. Don’t act like it.
- Hallway behavior: Don’t run in the halls, stop in the middle of the halls, or yell. And DON’T blast your music. Nobody wants to hear that.
- Keep a color scheme: It’s ok to go bold with some color! But, matching a purple shirt with green pants? Questionable.
- Don’t be too nervous: You’ll probably be a little anxious, and that’s ok! Don’t let your nerves make you seem (or act) too naive.
- Be confident: Nothing looks more mature than acting like you know what you’re doing.
- Understand that change will come and it is inevitable. One of the first things we think of when we hear high school is change. Change in your personality, appearance, social group, and classes. You might even have bigger changes in your life away from school. It’s understandable that some people don’t cope with change as well as others, but it’s probably the most important aspect of life we need to come to terms with. Not all changes are negative though. Embrace the transformations!
- Breathe. Allow yourself to live in the moment and feel all the emotions you want. These years go by before you know it, and you don’t want to regret anything. Work hard, stay optimistic and learn about yourself!
Our favorite part of freshman year was all the memories we have with old and new friends. After high school is over, your friends will take very different paths and might be splitting up for a while. Make the memories now, so you can have them forever. These will be the years you won’t forget. 🙂
(P.S.: This building’s temperature fluctuates like crazy. Always have a jacket or sweatshirt with you!)