I was the most excited student to leave middle school. I couldn't wait to begin my journey of becoming a young adult! The experience I had in middle school hadn't been particularly pleasing or memorable for me, so the thought of getting out and starting high school was absolutely thrilling.
Hollywood had ensured we all knew high school was the time when we would begin our transitions from tweens to young adults. The countless hours I spent researching and gathering information throughout the summer before freshman year left me feeling more than ready.
Unfortunately, nothing went as planned. The transition from middle school to high school was much more difficult than I'd expected, and I found myself wishing there was more I knew beforehand. With new batches of students entering high school every year, it's undeniable that countless of them felt the same way I did. To all incoming high school students, here are 5 things I wish I'd known before my freshman year!
1. The first day is terrifying.
From my experience of being late and getting lost on the first day of high school, with each minute spent away from where I was supposed to be bringing more and more anxiety, anyone could tell that my day was not that awesome.
It was from this experience that I learned that no matter how prepared or ready you think you are, not everything will go according to plan. You need to know, however, that that's perfectly okay. Cut yourself some slack- it's a totally new experience. Make an effort to attend your school orientation and stay on track, and you'll soon find yourself much more familiar with your environment. Give yourself time!
2. You may feel like you'll never fit in.
Despite the fact that I know I'm socially awkward and often have trouble getting to know people, nothing could have prepared me for how difficult it would be to find the right friends in high school.
It's totally okay to be alone at first. The diversity of high school will make you feel as if you don't belong, but the key is to be yourself. If you try to change who you are, you might make friends, but you won’t be satisfied. You need people in your circle who love and appreciate you for your true self, so keep in mind: quality over quantity.
3. Popularity doesn’t matter
We see this in movies all the time: the popular students are the most well-liked and no one acknowledges the quiet ones, often due to trivial matters like clothing, appearance, or riches. Being popular probably sounds enticing, but trust me, it also comes with a lot of complications.
For example, everyone's eyes will be on you and you will constantly feel the pressure of having to uphold your peers' expectations. It's easier to become the focus of gossip and criticism when you're so well known. Rather than sacrificing your own happiness for social standing, find yourself a group of true friends and stick with them. You won’t be in high school forever, so choose to surround yourself with people whose company you genuinely enjoy!
4. You have to start thinking about college.
Even as a freshman, you'll begin to feel the pressure of looming college applications. You should plan out all the things you will do, like extracurricular activities, what classes would look best on an application, and more. As a freshman, you will still have plenty of time to work on your transcript, but that doesn't mean you're allowed to slack off. Don’t skip classes, don’t fall behind, keep your grades up, and build relationships with your teachers and counselors.
5. High school won't be the “best time of your life”.
As mentioned earlier, movies or TV shows aren't accurate representations of high school. Some people will have a great time and some won't. Chances are that this won't be your "peak." You've got your whole life ahead of you, and you can still make wonderful memories as you get older. High school is the time when you mature and discover yourself. You may not even talk to your high school friends after you graduate, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
I will be graduating in 2023, so I still undoubtedly have a lot to know and learn. However, with my experience, these five things are very important to keep in mind before starting your high school journey. The transition from middle school to high school can be extremely scary, but as long as you mentally prepare yourself and be confident, you will be just fine. High school's going to be the best and worst time of your life, and that's okay! 4 years will go by in the blink of an eye. Embrace it and enjoy it, because you've only got one shot!