How to survive freshman year

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Times-News correspondents

   The freshman year of high school and college can be a bit intimidating at first. During a Teens & Twenties meeting a few months ago, the volunteer writers mentioned how they wished someone would’ve offered advice and tips on both the transition from middle to high school and high school to college. The result of that brainstorming can be found below:
My advice to any rising freshman is simply don’t be lazy. Don’t wait until the last minute to get an assignment turned in. Just keep track of all your work, and when you miss a day or two, make sure you get that work as well. I know everyone loves to procrastinate, but what you do in high school determines a lot for your future. Even if you aren’t going to college, it’s still good to graduate with a good GPA (grade point average). Having a good GPA might also help you to get a job.

 Elizabeth Mullis is a rising senior at Clover Garden School.

 

    As a recent high school graduate and college freshman, it’s pretty easy to look back and think of advice to give upcoming students: nothing is permanent, so don’t dwell on it. Friendships are nice, but often not permanent. Classes end, relationships end and bad things happen during the four years of high school. So everyone should just remember not to let the things that hurt and stress them out get to them, because none of it will last forever. There is a much bigger door that is soon to open, and much greater things can be found beyond the walls of high school.

 Kaitlin Gillespie is a freshman at Western Carolina University.

   Most people view high school as a living nightmare — papers assigned to you left and right and 50 math problems for homework (ugh). There are the select few who actually enjoy going to school, most because they thrive in learning environments, and they yearn for something to do to keep their minds active. There are others who enjoy school because they get to see friends and join clubs.
High school is really a developmental stage for teenagers. You begin to see what you have an interest in and what you don’t. Ideas about what you truly want to be when you grow up begin to form. When asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” we no longer answer by saying princesses and wizards (although I am still waiting for my Hogwarts letter). It can be hard figuring out what you want to do with your life, especially when you still depend on your parents for everything, but it’s fun. While you’re having fun, do your work. Colleges actually look at your grades and GPAs, and there is no way you’ll become what you want if you don’t try.
High school, the way I see it, also is a time to reinvent yourselves. In middle school, you may have been the quiet one who secretly had a passion for something that would put you in the spotlight but were too afraid to break outside the box. Or you could have been that person in the spotlight that was too afraid to show your intelligence because it didn’t seem “cool.”
Well now, you can become who you truly are. This is your time to find yourself. Too many people get lost in middle school and never find their place as they get older. But as you figure out who you are, don’t lose sight of who you want to be; high school is also a time for change. You need to begin setting goals for yourself, and doing all the right things to meet them.
Basically, high school is four years between still being treated like a child and becoming an adult, use this time to figure out what you find enjoyable, and to have fun, because soon you’ll grow up.

Madison Strickland is a rising junior at The Burlington School.

    Don’t let your schoolwork consume you. You are a person outside of school and you should schedule time to have fun in between homework and studying.

 Mary Daniel is a rising senior at Williams High School.

    Study what you love. If you aren’t excited about class, you aren’t going to be excited about the career that follows those classes. Make connections with teachers/professors; you never know when those relationships will come in handy. Go to class, study and have fun. Slow down, and don’t stress about the little things. Remember, life is what is going on while you’re planning for the future!

 Lenzie Purcell is a 2014 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill

   For all the procrastinators out there, procrastinating may have worked fine in middle school, but be prepared for a wakeup call. When you enter high school, the amount of work you will have increases. As you scramble around the day before the homework is due, you may have been thinking the day you got it, “this will only take me a day to do, it’s no big deal.” Well, eventually procrastination catches up with you when you move deeper into high school, then college. Some work well under pressure, but some are simply putting it off. Some people are proud of their procrastination; some don’t even need to worry about it. No matter how procrastination works in your life, just make sure the work gets done.
High school is both amazing and challenging all at the same time. There will be moments when you never want that moment to end, but there also will be days when all you want to do is drop out. With challenging classes, being the new kids and useless drama, the days of wanting to drop out will be quite often. When I was a freshman I was terrified, so terrified I didn’t talk to any upperclassmen. I had an art class with so many upperclassmen, but I didn’t get to really build any relationships with any of them because I wouldn’t speak up. I regret that very much.

 Emma Gadbery is a home-schooled junior.

   My advice for the freshman this year is to not be so scared of upperclassmen that you don’t make friends. Join clubs or take classes that will let you become closer with upper classmen. You could meet some of the coolest people ever if you just take a chance and put yourself out there. Also don’t be surprised when you have a lot of homework. Middle school seemed hard, but trust me when I say high school is a thousand times harder. It sounds scary, but it’s not that bad. It’s just all a part of life.

 Zoie Nelson is a rising sophomore at Williams High School.

   While they say high school is going to be the “best four years of your life,” it’s important to realize that there are going to be things that test that theory. There’s going to be drama with friends, fights, bad grades, good grades, amazing teachers and even the occasional not-so-great teacher. It’s a good idea to at least try to keep a positive attitude. It’s going to be a bit difficult, everyone has their opinions, but if every person were to keep a decent attitude, things would be OK. High school flies by and it’s a good idea to make sure you have a few decent memories to take with you once you graduate.

 Katie Farrell is a rising senior at Graham High School.

    My advice for any upcoming freshman would be to join a club or some kind of after-school activity. There are plenty of clubs, so just find something that sparks your interest and join. If you like sports, go ahead and try out for your school’s team. Clubs and sports also give you something to look forward to at the end of your school day. Whatever you choose to do, you’re going to make some great friends and meet some upperclassman that will make your high school experience all the more enjoyable.

 Caroline Carpenter is a rising sophomore at Western Alamance High School.

    My greatest advice is that you don’t need to have it all figured out. There’s no rush to know what career you’re going to have, what college you’re going to attend, or who you’re going to spend your life with. Life is a constant change and you will find that your mind will change a lot. A dream of being a doctor or dentist may change. Friendships will change and sometimes you have to let go of people and things to get where you’re going. Nevertheless, don’t rush a single thing. Make the best of every opportunity. Four years goes by faster than you think.

 Allison Tate is a rising freshman at Alamance Community College.

   Stay focused and committed to your schedule. Once you’ve fallen behind, it’s hard to find motivation to catch back up. You have to become more independent by setting your own schedule, too.

Rachel Teseneer is a junior home-schooler.

   Try to keep calm. Don’t get all worried about “fitting in.” You will be overwhelmed at first, but as you progress through your studies, you will find it’s actually kind of fun.

 Devin Maravel is a rising sophomore at Turning Point.

   I feel the most important thing for incoming freshman to know is that no matter what happens in high school, life goes on. Just because you lose your friends or are doing poorly in a class doesn’t mean you are lame or dumb. No matter what, keep your head up and don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do.

 Briona Kiser is a freshman at UNC-Charlotte.

   Freshman-year can be tough — more work, more classes and, you’re the “baby” again. But, I encourage you not be intimidated by the older kids and the work load that you may have but instead, be a leader and make your high school experience one to remember.

 Michaela King is a rising senior at Burlington Christian Academy.

   High school can be thought of as a stepping stone into the “real world,” so always keep this in mind. Remember that in some respects your future depends on your success in high school, so plan and work accordingly. Also remember that some things about high school, like how popular you were, will not matter in the slightest once you graduate in four years. High school is an important time in your life, but by no means the most important years of your entire life. Find a happy medium when it comes to your mindset.
As a second piece of advice, look beyond your high school. Meeting people from different backgrounds and from different areas can serve to be enriching and fun. Seek out opportunities during the summer to travel, attend programs, volunteer, or to try anything that will offer you a new perspective. Try your hardest to remember that the world extends beyond your high school, and you will be amazed how much your life will change for the better.

 Kendall Wiggins is a freshman at North Carolina State University.

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