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The Survival Guide to Freshmen Year: From one Acalanes Student to Another

By Allie Marcu, Staff Writer

  We all live or have lived the freshmen experience. Freshmen don’t understand why upperclassmen hate them until they aren’t one anymore. Once they become a sophomore, they then compare themselves to the new freshmen and realize how they acted. This cycle is a traditional initiation to the high school experience. 

   Every year, freshmen begin their four years with anticipation, fear, or once in a while, excitement. The transition from middle school is a big leap to take and many will fall at least a couple times. 

   However, that is what freshman year is about, and it comes with all the new, fun, and stressful aspects of high school.

   Some seniors and juniors have offered their advice to help freshmen not set themselves up for disaster. They talk about what works, what does not, and overall some tips and tricks to survive. 

online- freshman advice- Sydney Christensen.jpg

By Sydney Christensen

  1. “High school is more of a maturing process.”

   Austin Poole, a senior, explained that freshman year is pretty easygoing, as it is the transition from junior high to high school. The homework gradually increases, people become more involved, and each student changes significantly. As one gets older and moves up a grade or two, their personality, study habits, and friends have all gone through a bit of a maturing and a gradual change. A few bumps in the road don’t do much, with freshmen year being even more lenient. Take advantage of this. 

  1. “Freshmen year is pretty much the same as middle school.”

   In Poole’s opinion, freshman year is the stepping stone to when things turn up a notch. Once one becomes a freshman, they have escaped the shame that is being a middle schooler, but now they are youngest at high school, and the most joked about. Not much has changed. The homework is a bit heavier, and teachers are more intense, but besides that, it’s just a different name. 

  1. “New school, new people, new experiences.”

   Lauren Williams, a junior, remarked on how being a freshman opens so many new opportunities, new people, and new activities to try. Do not opt-out of activities. Most likely, there will be something not worth missing out on. In freshman year the homework is lightest, students can do more extracurriculars and meet new people. They shouldn’t be afraid to leave their comfort zone.

  1. High school is an uphill battle.

   Poole says that for him, freshman year was easygoing. He did not have much homework, it was not too challenging overall, and it was just a bit more difficult in the sports category. Poole leaves a bit of lasting advice for upperclassmen saying, “If you hear freshmen complaining, tell them it gets worse.” 

  1. Little things matter.

   One widely received pet peeve of the upperclassmen is freshmen walking in the halls. To not get on your peers’ nerves, know where the next class is and don’t line up each friend, shoulder to shoulder in the hall while proceeding to go half the speed as everybody else. “Don’t walk really slow in front of people who know where they’re going,” Poole said. It is the little things that count. 

  1. “Find your group, keep working hard, and you’ll have a good time.”

   Having good friends is one of the critical factors for fulfilling the high school experience. Having friends makes school involvement more comfortable and are there to talk to when things get hard according to Poole. Friends are there to study with and support one another. Support from friends is crucial to the high school experience. 

  1. “Establish a good routine and good study habits.”

   Procrastination is the number one enemy so avoid it all costs. A schedule and some initiative can go a long way. After completing your routine for a few weeks, it becomes natural. As homework and one’s responsibilities increase, the schedule does make a big difference.

  1. “Appreciate any gains you make freshmen year in high school sports.”

   According to Poole, being involved in sports opens up a whole new group of friends, outside activities and bonding, and early releases from your classes. Take advantage of all of the positives. As students gradually become seniors, reflecting on the efforts and improvements made as a freshman and onwards is satisfying. The more effort put in, the higher the outcome.  

  1. “Keep an open mind and be nice to everyone.”

   Williams spread some positivity and explained that freshmen should not be quick to think that their upperclassmen will hate them. As long as they are not in the way, upperclassmen can partially be indifferent. Instead of expecting the worst, just be comfortable with everyone and keep an open mind. How freshmen act forms an upperclassmen’s opinion.

  1. “Get to know your teachers and get to know their styles and ask them questions.”

   Williams stresses the importance of putting yourself out there in the classroom. Freshmen should get comfortable with their teachers and classes as it goes a lot easier if the fear of raising your hand and being wrong is decreased. 

  1. “Get involved as soon as possible.”

   Leadership and sports events are going on constantly at school, whether it is a school day or weekend. Getting involved introduces new friends into one’s life and promotes further activities in the future. Many of the best high school experiences come from school-related activities done with friends, so do not miss out and join in as soon as possible. Williams said that getting involved made her freshman transition much smoother.

  1. “Have a study buddy.”

   Poole lastly reminded that having someone to call whether to ask about the homework or if there is a test tomorrow is very important. For some people having someone working with them promotes their progress and work. However, this is not the case for all students as it can do the opposite. No matter what, having someone to ask about the class can be a big help.

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