Making that jump from middle school to high school is something that produces differing emotions in students. For some, it feels like the most exciting time of their life so far, but for others, the thought of moving into high school fills them with dread. Any emotion that a student feels at this time is valid, and no two students will feel the exact same way. And it's easy to understand why - high school is a four-year journey that will have huge effects on your latter life, and right before freshman year, you have no idea what lies ahead for you.
But through this article, I am hoping to provide you with inside into how you can approach your freshman year, written by someone who has gone through it all before - we're going to make this transition to high school as blissful as possible!
1. Freshman Year Isn't Your Academic 'Get Out Of Jail Free' Card.
I'm going to start with some tough love (I'm sorry!), but it needs to be said. It's all too easy to think academics don't matter during this first year, and you can rely on the other three years of high school to sort out your GPA. But when college application season rolls around in senior year, your senior self will be kicking themselves for not staying on top of academics back then.
Don't feel nervous to ask your new teachers for help if you are struggling just because you don't know them well yet - I assure you they will be more than happy to help, and it will actually start to foster a positive relationship with your new teachers moving forwards (which will come in handy when you need letters of recommendation down the line). Consider high school academics as a marathon, not a spirt.
Whilst you don't want to burn out by overworking yourself now, you need to make continually strong progress to make it to the finishing line, and you can't do everything at the last moment. Pace yourself, don't be afraid to seek help and work hard - you'll thank yourself later.
2. Things Are Going to Change. And That's Okay.
Freshman year will inevitably bring about big changes for you. From new teachers and students to a new campus and different classes, you’ll be encountering things you’re not used to. But what is new and unfamiliar will soon become your daily normal; you just have to give things time to adjust.
You will get used to things, you will find your place and your high school will feel like home - eventually. During the first few weeks, lean on those around you for support if necessary and before you know it, you’ll feel like your high school was all you’ve ever known.
3. Opportunities Will Open Up Like Never Before.
Moving into high school brings with it a huge wealth of new opportunities to become involved in. Don't be afraid to try a new activity (or even several new activities!) Freshman year is your time to experiment, explore your passions and discover new interests - and it may even help you find new friends with similar interests.
Moreover, if you find your high school doesn't offer what you're looking for, who's to stop you from starting a club? Your high school is there to provide you will a space to grow and develop, learning more about yourself in the process - you will only have these chances once, so don't let your fears hold you back from taking a chance on something new.
4. Your Friendships Will Constantly Be Evolving.
Surrounded by new people, you might feel the pressure to immediately find your 'best friends for life'. For the lucky few, this may happen in your first few weeks, but for the vast majority of freshman, friendships will take time and experience to cement.
The best thing you can do for yourself during this year is to remain open to friendships with anyone and everyone you meet - you never know what you might have in common with someone, and it never hurts to get to know people better. Closing yourself off is the worst thing that you can do for yourself, so make that effort to spend time with people outside of class, without overthinking your relationships, and I assure you that things will fall into place over time.
5. Freshman Year Can Actually Be Fun.
Shocking, right? But it's true. Sure, your freshman year won't be all plain sailing, but it's a journey that can be filled with fun and excitement if you let it. As I've already said, change is inevitable - so the best thing you can do is embrace the change. Make those memories that will stay with you forever, and make your freshman year a time you look back on with fond memories; you'll only be in 9th grade once.
So, I hope this article has provided you with at least one nugget of helpful information to help prepare you for freshman year, and, as I draw this article to a close, I want to leave you with a quote by Dr Seuss: 'You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.' This quote epitomizes what high school can be for you, and I wish you all the luck in this world as you embark on this journey - you've got this!