9 tips for incoming 9th graders

The Awkward Freshman year. The first year of high school. The year that could change your life, make or break your high school experience. Well, forget that. Everything you have ever been told.

For me all I was ever told was that high school was a lot harder, you have to constantly think about college, you have to make intense decisions, blah blah blah. It’s not that those facts aren’t true it’s that they just sound scary. When I was a freshman I really wanted to be assured, not scared. So take a deep breath. I promise you that this is all information meant to assure you not scare you like all the information you are given by adults.

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I’m not an adult or even a senior yet but I’m leaving the experience you are about to start. Tip #1: For Every person in that school it is their first day. For teachers, it’s their first day with a new group of students. For upperclassmen, it’s their first day in that new grade. And for you, it’s your first day as a high school student. The fact that many people are told is that they are not alone, but truly you aren’t.

It’s not just other freshmen you will be with, you’ll be with so many other people who had to have their first day of high school at one point or another. Tip #2: Just talk to ANYONE.Everyone has different worries. This really isn’t a tip it’s just a thought. On my first day I didn’t think I would be able to make friends well, but for most people, they were worried about getting lost. The best ways to subside these worries is to talk to someone, talk about what you worry about.

Ask a teacher where something is, ask a friend where something is, talk to the people in your class, compare schedules, ANYTHING! Sometimes you have to just jump in because you don’t have all the time to test the water Tip #3: Don’t be immature and don’t act too cool. Don’t scream running down the halls but also don’t act like you are too busy to talk to someone. Acting like you are too cool for something really is being immature. Tip #4: JOIN SOMETHING!!!! Most clubs and organizations need more than just Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors to survive. Also joining something your freshman year gives you a leg up in the future. I joined FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) this past year and I had the opportunity to compete in lower level events without advanced Juniors and Seniors.

I had proved myself early on and learned a lot as a freshman so I can take that for the future when everything gets a little harder. Just try ANYTHING!!! Whether that be a sport, musical, or club just have fun and try it out. It’s okay if you fail, the fact is that you succeeded in wanting to try something new out when so many other people do not. Tip #5: It’s not cool not to care. Care about what you do and don’t let anyone shake that feeling. Care about your grades, your teachers, your clubs, or your passions.

Those that don’t care about anything fail later when they want a career or want to go to college. Work hard at what you love. Tip #6: Don’t lose sight of your goals. Sometimes it’s hard to decide what you want to do and where you want to be in the future. My tip is to make a set of goals, whether you write it down or not, and keep them in mind.

Having a set of goals will help you make some decisions. If you see yourself being a journalist in the future you might want to join creative writing instead of forensics. When it comes to peer pressure as well this can also help. Being serious about your goals is okay and will really help in the future. Tip #7: Take teachers and administrators seriously, but also become their friend. This can get you on their good side and help later if you need a recommendation.

Also, being a sort of friend can make communication less awkward. Yes, teachers can be annoying but they were once in your position and treating them with a little respect goes a long way. Tip #8: Find a safe space. This is an area of the school that you can feel fully accepted and unafraid to be yourself. For myself, this is theatre, for someone else that could be art or English. Any place or person you can find to feel secure in being yourself is one of the things that get you through the rough times.

Tip #9: Be Positive! This isn’t just one of those “have fun” tips everyone is given during every experience in their life. What got me through a lot of Freshman year was thinking positively and not negatively. I knew people who hated school and freshman year, but all they did was think negatively. Find things you look forward to and find what you enjoy about school. Allowing yourself to think positively really helps life actually be fun and honestly improves your outlook on life. So in conclusion, I hope that these facts have assured you in the leap of faith that is the high school you are about to take on.

High school and freshman year are not meant to be scary or awful, it’s meant to be a new journey you are taking that creates you into the person you are meant to be.