My youngest sister started her freshman year of high school this week. It was certainly a shock realizing that my baby sister is now a bona fide teenager. The beginning of high school brings many changes: more schoolwork, more responsibility, and more freedom. High schoolers will encounter brand new situations, develop a clearer sense of their own identities, and navigate more mature relationships with friends, family and classmates. If you have a new high schooler in your life, how can you help them deal with the ups and downs of this new adventure? Here’s what I want my little sister to know about being a high school freshman.
Advice For High School Freshmen
- Grades do not define you. High school often involves a heavier workload and increased pressure to succeed. Learn how to study effectively – whether that means setting aside quiet time at the library every night or organizing a study group with some friends. Sit close to the front of the classroom if possible and never be afraid to approach a teacher with any concerns. Most teachers want you to succeed. Encountering one who doesn’t care can be rough, but there are more out there who do care. You’ll find them. At the end of the day, grades on a piece of paper do not define your intelligence or your future. Put your best effort into your schoolwork, but make sure to give yourself a break if you don’t do as well as you had hoped. There are so many other ways to be successful that do not involve grades – being a loyal friend, dedicating yourself to theater or sports, or learning how to make life decisions with confidence.
- Learn from your relationships. Not all relationships will work out, but every single one will be a learning experience. Everyone in high school is trying to figure out who they are and what interests them in life. You may find friendships that last a lifetime, but you may also build friendships that eventually fall apart. If you’re having trouble making friends, join a club or sports team that interests you. Keep in mind that other freshmen are just as nervous as you are about starting high school. But also remember that not everyone finds lifelong friends in high school. You will have many more chances in life to build lasting friendships, so don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you’re not forming deep connections.
- Everything passes. Bad days in high school can feel like the end of the world, but they’re not. These four years will be mere memories one day. Relish the moments of joy – academic achievements, laughter with close friends, learning how to drive, meeting people who make you smile, finding a hobby you’re passionate about – but don’t dwell on the moments of disappointment. Your high school experience does not define how the rest of your life will be. If you feel lost or hurt, confide in the people who love you. So many other people feel like you do. This too shall pass.
Freshman year of high school can be an intimidating experience. Many freshmen feel pressured to both succeed academically and fit in socially. Setbacks can feel like failures. But setbacks are part of growing up – something everyone has to go through. Sometimes all a new freshman needs is a shoulder to lean on and someone to listen. Help the new freshmen in your life feel supported by letting them know you are always there if they need any advice.
I hope you found these tips and advice for high school freshmen helpful. What did you wish you had known as a freshman in high school?