What Every High School Freshman Should Do

Student Life

College can wait, it's high school first!

Welcome to high school! Excited? Nervous? Overwhelmed already? Don't worry, I got you covered. As someone who has graduated from high school, I can tell you for a fact that it's not as bad as it seems or as you may have watched in the movies. In fact, they say that high school is where a lot of people build the best memories and even though you will face some challenges, there will always be good times you'll love and cherish.

As a freshman, there are a few things you should do as you are venturing into the new world which is high school. I've made a list of ten things you should do in your freshman year of high school.

High school hallway

1. Start with the right mindset

High school is a lot different from middle school. Not only will you enter into a new environment, but you'll also meet new teachers, new grade systems, and new people. A lot of things could easily go by in middle school, but that isn't exactly the case with high school. In middle school, you could get away with being an average student in everything, but mediocrity is barely tolerated in high school.

With that being said, it's important to start high school with the right mindset. Don't worry about what everyone says about high school being tough, because it's really not that tough. Don't start high school with the assumption that things will become a lot harder, because if you do, things may actually become harder for you. Be positive, stay organized, and always be open to new changes and opportunities. Expect the worse, but hope for the best. That way you won't get too disappointed if things don't turn out as you planned, but it won't make you a pessimist either.

2. Stay on top of your school work from the very beginning

I wish someone had told me this earlier. Even though I still managed to scale up the academic ladder towards my final years of high school, I know things would have been a lot better if I had started right from the beginning. Don't play with your studies in freshman year. Start building that perfect CGPA from 9th grade. That way, even if you falter a little as you advance (as things will get tougher), you won't have to worry much because you have a strong grade to lean on. With the right study tips and motivation, high school work should be easy to excel in.

People may try to trick you into believing that you have time and that you should just focus on adapting and “having fun,” but do not let them fool you! Your grade in freshman year matters a lot and even if you may still be able to pick off from sophomore year or even junior year, nothing beats a solid foundation.

3. Join a club/extracurricular Activity

This is another thing I so dearly wish I was told when I entered high school. School isn't just about books and academics alone and even though I strongly support getting perfect grades, I'm also of the belief that a couple of activities outside school won't kill you but actually do you a lot of good.

If you did not belong to any clubs in middle school, high school is your chance to fix that. The good thing about high school is that there're so many different clubs and societies and so many opportunities. Though the number of clubs will depend on your school, every high school will always have the basic school clubs, which are press club, drama/music club, science club, math club and debate club.

Join at least one club, maybe even two, but remember not to take on more than you can handle. Clubs are not only good as an extracurricular, but they can also help boost your college application, even though you shouldn't worry about that for now, which brings me to my next point.

4. Don't start stressing over college applications yet

While the majority of high school freshmen may be struggling to adapt to the new environment and to keep up with the new mode of school work, there will always be the overzealous ones who have already started making college plans. If you are this kind of person, then I am here to tell you: relax!

I'm not saying that it's bad to start making inquiries about the university you want to attend, but don't start stressing yourself about it yet. College is at least three years away, so don't get too overwhelmed by the thought of getting into the best universities that you forget to embrace the moment and actually enjoy high school.

College can wait, it's high school first!

5. Do at least one sport

This is also on the topic of extracurricular activities, but I chose to address it differently because I want to highlight the importance of playing sports. Playing sports will not only make you more physically fit and healthy (without having to hit the gym), you'll also get to meet new people, make more friends and it's good for your mental health.

Playing sports in high school has been given a somewhat negative representation in the media. We see high school movies where the "jocks" and "cheerleaders" are usually the antagonists. This may have given kids the impression that being a sporty person is bad, which is just not true. Perhaps jocks used to be bullies that picked on smaller kids with higher intellectual abilities, but that isn't the case anymore, and even if it is, it shouldn't stop you from participating in a sport of your choice.

There are so many sports one can do in high school. There are football, volleyball, soccer, swimming, basketball, tennis, and even cheerleading teams. Sports activities don't always have to be in high school though, as you can play sports outside your school, perhaps in a local team or even just leisurely with your friends. Whichever way you choose, let your body move.

6. Attend Social events

You don't have to be a social butterfly to soar through high school. You can be socially active and one of the easiest ways this can be achieved is by attending social events both within and outside school. Homecoming, pep rallies, inter-school games, school dances, etc. All these social events are so important.

Again, if you get invited to a friend's party, don't sit at home, go for it! You may get to meet new people and gain new opportunities. Do not become wild or go to too many parties though, especially ones where there are a lot of irresponsible things taking place. Also, don't go to parties that may affect your study life. For instance, parties hosted during school nights may cause you to wake up late the next morning.

7. Learn extra skills

Getting a degree is good, but knowing a few extra skills can fetch you another stream of income when you graduate or while even in school is even better.

There are tons of skills you can learn in high school that will really help you. These are both online, such as copywriting, digital marketing, writing, videography, graphic designing, computer programming and offline, such as make-up, hairstyling, artistry, fashion designing, baking, etc. You can learn skills that are related to your career goals. That way, they can add to your resume in the future. For example, if your career goal is to become an engineer, then you should definitely learn coding/programming.

8. Make Friends

Everyone wants someone who has their back, someone they can rely on and someone who shares the same values and beliefs as them. This is where friends come in. Everyone needs friends and anyone can have them.

The friends you had in middle school may not follow you into high school (unless you're lucky). Sometimes, even if they do, sooner or later you may outgrow each other and the friendship will start dissolving slowly until you're both in different friendships.

Don't worry though, because friends will leave and new friends will come. Forget the fallacy that making friends in high school is hard, it's not! Just follow this guide: How to make friends on your first day of high school.

9. Develop good life skills

Build good habits and life skills that'll help you become a better human. Such skills include good communication skills, emotional skills, decision-making skills, critical and creative thinking, listening skills, etc.

Learn how to effectively communicate with other people through expressing yourself clearly and boldly. Become a good listener that can effectively comprehend other people's views without being biased. Develop emotional intelligence by learning how to identify and understand your emotions so that you learn to deal with them confidently. Train yourself into becoming someone that logically assesses things so that you make good decisions and learn to be assertive and say YES only when you mean yes and NO when you mean no.

10. Remember to practice self-care

Last but not least is to practice self-care. Remember to take a break from all the stress of high school. Don't neglect your health and mental well-being. Always make time to do some self-care at home, whether it be through beauty treatments, watching your favorite movies, journaling or just relaxing. You are a high schooler, not a robot.

These are all my tips. I hope you found them helpful. Remember to stay organized, be positive, and make good high school memories.

Ikwuegbu Ihuoma
50k+ pageviews

A very creative Nigerian teenager is passionate about content and digital creation. She loves music, playing the piano, chess, puzzles and any other thing that challenges her intellectually. She also loves learning, meeting new people and taking on challenges. Be sure to read her blog!