It seemed like every time I did a livestream (follow my Instagram here) this summer I’d get a request to write a blog post along the lines of “How to Overcome Fears Going into High School” or “How to Make Friends in High School.” So, today that’s exactly what I’m doing! I guess you could say this post is sort of a survival guide for the beginning of high school. If you’re a freshman in high school or just a high school student in general, I think this post might help you out a little! I know I was all kinds of scared starting my freshman year of high school (I was nervous starting my junior year too though, who am I kidding), and I want to do everything I can to help prevent you from feeling the same way. I’ve divided the post into a few general topics that I felt should be touched on. If you’re interested in reading my other Back to School posts, find them all here! I’m posting a new Back to School post every Tuesday through the end of September, so be sure to come back next Tuesday for another. Without further adieu, let’s get started!
Balancing School and Social Life
I was really stressed going into high school that my classes would all be insanely hard. I’m not going to lie, some of them are, but freshman year wasn’t especially difficult and it’s a really good transition year from middle school to high school. Work hard freshman year because it won’t be that easy to make that good of grades later on (hear me now, believe me later). However, don’t drown yourself in your studies. Like I said, it’ll be harder to make good grades later, so take advantage of the free time you still have and participate in all the high school events you can. Freshman year I was in the choir, helped build my class’ homecoming float (our town has a parade and each class has a themed float constructed by that class), went to a ton of our home football games, participated in a few school clubs, was involved in YoungLife, supported my friends in their sport’s events, and played lacrosse all while keeping As and Bs. Juggling extracurriculars with academics can be challenging at times, but if you love everything you’re participating in it’s so worth it!
If your school system is like mine, there are a few middle schools that feed into the high school you’re going to. I was lucky in that the middle school I attended was the largest of the three that fed into my high school, but I still had several kids I didn’t recognize in each of my classes. The easiest way to make friends is to be friendly. I know it sounds dumb, but smiling at people in the halls and when you make eye contact in class, complimenting peers on their clothes, hair, and/or makeup, and being willing to lend a pencil to your classmate will make you appear a lot more approachable. If you seem more approachable, you don’t always have to be the one approaching, which is nice if you’re not incredibly outgoing. However, if you are pretty outgoing, you could be the one approaching too! Sit down next to someone quiet that you don’t know and spark up a conversation. Maybe tell them about how you just fell down the stairs on the way to class or spent five minutes trying to get your locker open. Making people laugh and admitting your embarrassing stories upfront like that serves as an awesome ice breaker and keeps you from being presented as “perfect” and therefore less approachable.
Safe, Fun, and Legal Hangouts
Hopefully your freshman year is like mine and you aren’t confronted with any risky circumstances just yet. My favorite ways to hangout with my friends, old and new, include going out to dinner, spending a Saturday afternoon downtown, having them over to spend the night, and meeting up after school at a restaurant like Panera to review for a big test we both have to take. All of those activities could be done as a pair or as a group! There’s a group of girls in my grade that went out to dinner before every home football game (I was invited to tag along once) then carpooled to the game together and I think that’s such a fun idea! As high school goes on you most likely will be presented with some tough situations, but surrounding yourself with people you want to be like will usually keep you in a good place. If you aren’t interested in participating in drinking, drug use, etc. and surround yourself with like-minded people, you most likely won’t face any situations in which you feel pressured to do so. If you’re a Christian and have YoungLife in your community I definitely recommend you go (I know I talk about YoungLife all the time, but I seriously can’t emphasize it enough). Not only is club itself super fun, but the college-age leaders often go to football games, high school lunches, etc. and as you form relationships with them they’ll be there for you if you ever feel excluded because of your moral limits (if you’re interested in hearing more about why I love YoungLife so much you can read my post about it here!).
I certainly wouldn’t call myself very experienced in this topic, but I did have a boyfriend for a few months during my freshman year. My biggest piece of advice for dating in high school is to keep it in perspective. Yes, I know the idea of going on dates and having someone to receive VSCO-worthy texts from (you know exactly what I’m talking about) may sound enticing, but not dating in high school isn’t the end of the world. I’ve always kind of wanted to be in a relationship deep down, but within the past few months I’ve decided I don’t really need it. I have a handful of nice friends that I love to spend time with, I have a full plate with my AP course load, blog, job, YoungLife, numerous clubs, and lacrosse, and I am loved by a God far more permanent and capable of loving deeply than any boy in high school. Not to mention, high school relationships lasting past freshman year of college are incredibly rare, so I don’t feel like I’m really missing out on much. If you do end up dating, please remember that you deserve their utmost respect and you don’t owe them a thing. Again, this is high school, and your forever shouldn’t be based on what you’re willing to do right now. I’m not trying to make dating sound bad, I have a few friends that are in very happy relationships, but I have twice as many who aren’t and are just as happy.
Thanks for reading! If you found this post helpful, you might also want to check out the “My Advice For High School Freshmen” post that I wrote last year, linked here!