One thing I remember very clearly about freshman year was how insanely nervous I was in the beginning. I was scared out of my mind to start high school in a new building with hundreds of new classmates from the other middle schools. Looking back, I actually had a great freshman year; I made many new friends, joined YoungLife, went on a school trip to Chicago, became a member of a few school clubs, and played lacrosse while keeping all As and Bs in every class. Still, I was terrified and I wish I had some source of advice going in. Today I’m sharing eleven pieces of advice for high school freshman. This post is the first in my Back to School series this year, so be on the lookout for more back to school posts soon! I think this advice will be especially helpful for high school freshman (I know my year would’ve been a lot easier if I had done all of these things), however I think it could be helpful for anyone in school, whether you will be a freshman this year, in a few years, or you were a freshman a couple years ago. Now, let’s get into this post!
- Walk your schedule a few times before the school year even starts. – Once you get your class schedule, invite a friend to go to the school with you and walk your schedules before school starts. The more you walk it, the more familiar you’ll get with the building and the less likely you will be to get lost on the first day (not fun). Plus, you might run into one of your new teachers and you could have a chance to meet them early and make a good first impression.
- Talk to new people. – For some people, this comes naturally, but personally I have a hard time talking to people I don’t already know. Make conversation with people in your classes by complimenting them on something like their outfit or hair, asking them about their other classes, or just flat out introducing yourself. One of the only things that make school fun is having friends, so make some new ones in the first few weeks so you can build relationships throughout the year!
- Go to football games and participate in other school activities. – At many schools, football is a pretty big deal. Everyone attends the football games on Friday nights, so carpool with some friends and go! High school football games are a huge part of the high school experience and I think while you’re in high school you should really try to soak up all the activities while you can. Other activities might include going to other sporting events throughout the year, participating in a powderpuff game, or being on a committee to prepare for things like a dance or homecoming parade.
- Use Quizlet. – Quizlet (linked here) is a free online flashcard website that allows you to create sets of terms and study them in a few different ways. You can make private sets just for you to study, or you can make them public and share them with your classmates so they can study too. It’s not only a website, but also an app, so you can study for that vocabulary test on the way to school or any other time on the go. I’ve been using this program for three years and I can honestly say it has helped me a lot.
- If you’re a Christian (or want to be a Christian) join a youth group near you. – Where I live, and also throughout the world, there’s an organization called YoungLife. YoungLife (organization website linked here) is a Christian program led by church pastors and college students that want to bring the word to teenagers, despite their background or response. We meet on Monday nights and each meeting (called “club”) has a theme such as pajamas, ice cream olympics, America, etc. The college student leaders hang out with many of the teens who go to YoungLife and try their best to create personal relationships with the students – I have Snapchat streaks with all of my leaders and I’ve been writing them all summer. It’s having best friends in Christ that you can always go to. It’s great. We also go to super fun camps throughout the year that include zip lines, lakes, horseback riding, and more (check my post from Windy Gap last year here). If you don’t have a YoungLife club near you, there are other youth groups in every town.
- Make a good playlist for the mornings. – While getting ready, I personally wake up more and get twice as excited for the school day when listening to music. A good playlist for school mornings sets me in the right tone and really gives me an extra boost of confidence to start the day. Check out some of my playlists here.
- Create an organized and calm work environment. – Before the school year begins and everything gets hectic, decide on a good place to do your homework that is quiet, calm, organized, and will keep you focused. I personally usually do my homework while sitting on my bed with a candle lit beside me, but many people work better with a desk. Make sure the area has good lighting, whether you’re doing your homework at 3:30 right after school, or at midnight. Also be sure that the area stays clean and organized throughout the school year.
- Join clubs and/or play a sport. – A great way to meet new people is to join clubs and sports teams. This past year, I joined Anchor Club, Beta Club, and International Club. I was also part of the chorus and I played lacrosse. I joined all of these clubs and teams alongside many friends and I found being a member to be a great way to make new friends, plus the clubs and sports will look good on college applications later on. Clubs and sports vary from school to school, but you’ll probably find something that interests you, whether it’s band, student council, volleyball, or International Club.
- Set some goals for your year. – Before the school year starts, make some goals for yourself. Maybe you want to have a 4.0 GPA, or finally get an A in math. Your goals could also be nonacademic; score six goals this soccer season or make ten new friends by next summer. Write these goals down in your planner or somewhere in your room. These goals will keep you going throughout the school year and remind you what you’re really working towards.
- Use an agenda. – While extracurriculars are great, be sure to keep your priorities in check and put school work first. I’ve been using an agenda since seventh grade and I find them to be a super helpful way to stay organized. Use your agenda to mark due dates, games, club meetings, social plans, and jot down homework. I personally love the Lilly Pulitzer (here), Kate Spade (here), and Day Designer agendas (here).
- Have a positive attitude going into the school year. – If you go into the school year thinking “This year is going to be awful!” you might just convince yourself to have an awful year. Be positive. If you go into the year believing in yourself, giving every person you meet a chance to be your friend, and giving your teachers some time before you decide they’re all mean and awful, you’ll have a better year.
I hope you enjoyed this post and it helps you ease your nerves going into the school year. Again, be on the look out for more posts in my Back to School series soon!