Welcome to the wonderful world of high school where you will make new friends, learn how to drive, and meet a whole different breed of teachers.
You must be excited, anxious, and a little bit scared. I was all of these things three years ago when I was in the same position you are in right now, clutching onto my Aeropostale graphic-tees and wondering if they’re still cool in high school (the answer is no).
However, as I soon learned, high school is a lot easier to survive and get used to than what is dramatized in movies. Though I can only speak for my own high school, I am sure that as long as you be yourself and don’t purposefully get yourself into trouble for the sake of looking “cool,” you’ll be fine anywhere. Then, before you can even say, “OH MY GOODNESS I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE GOT PREGNANT,” you’ll be preparing for your senior year.
You will be me.
With that said, high school is no joy ride. It’s more like the tea-cup ride at the fair; sure, there will be moments of fun and exhilaration but unfortunately, they’ll be followed by a lot of dizziness, confusion, and possibly vomit. Not to mention it’s one of the only rides that requires you to do part of the work for the sake of your own enjoyment, a fact somewhat parallel to the amount of kissing-up you’ll have to do to get your teachers to write you letters of recommendation.
So that is why I have compiled a short list of tips to make your first year of high school a bit more enjoyable, productive, and less vomit-filled.
1. Get out of the hallways.
High school is a crowded place. It’s like New York City without the culture and prostitutes. (That’s just my school though; I sure yours will be equipped with both). Just like in the Big Apple, people can get very cranky when there is something is blocking their way.
Don’t be that something.
In this metaphor, you, dear freshman, are a tourist, gawking in awe of the different environment, obnoxiously gathering in circles with your friends, and walking slow for reasons I have yet to fathom. We, the upperclassmen, are the natives who hate tourists.
Don’t be discouraged. If you want to avoid looking like a tourist (freshman), gather in more open places like the lobby (or, goodness forbid, wait one hour until lunch) and move quicker. It’s not that we care that much about getting to class on time, it’s that we don’t want to walk behind someone who seems like they’re going for a sidewalk stroll.
Because of this was a sidewalk stroll, you would have been run over by our cars.
2. Join Stuff.
Getting involved is super-duper important in high school for several reasons. For one, it is a great place to meet new people. If you want to make friends, clubs and sports will practically bring you a whole bunch of them; all you have to do is put yourself out there. Second, it looks great on college applications. As someone getting ready to apply to colleges, I can tell you that they look mainly for commitment in your activities, meaning four years of Animal-Balloon-Art Club (your school has that, yes?) looks more impressive than one year of Advanced Smarty-Pants Genius Humanitarian Society (it could be a thing). Suddenly joining extracurriculars your junior and senior year looks fishy on college apps because they think you only did it so it would look good on college apps. This may or may not be true but they won’t be able to tell so just find your interest early and stick with it, which brings me to my next point:
Activities are fun and you can get involved in a lot of cool things. You might find something that you’re going to love doing that you didn’t even know about. It’s a good way to open your horizons and make the most out of your experience.
Your high school doesn’t have anything you like? Create your own club! This, from my experience, was harder than I thought it would be but was well worth it once it was established. Just find a group of people that would be interested, find a teacher nice (and available) enough to be your advisor, and get the idea cleared with administration. Again, this proved more difficult than expected but if you don’t try, you’ll never know.
3. Don’t be “that kid.”
You know who I’m talking about. There is always that one person who wants to make a name for his or herself but can’t do it by any other means except for self-exploitation. Don’t do that. Don’t develop a reputation for being a skank/weirdo/thug/suspected-serial-killer.
It’s important to note though, that I am not talking about people who are truly just being themselves. It’s perfectly fine to explore your sexual maturity or wear kitty sweaters and say. “Greetings, earthlings,” to your classmates, if you are doing it because you are comfortable behaving that way (sorry, I can’t defend the thug or serial killer life). If you ever realize that you are doing something for attention, stop it. People have a hard time forgetting; if you establish yourself as a certain way freshman year, it will most likely stick with you for the following three.
4. Don’t try so hard to be cool.
You were probably awesome in middle school.
However, you’re not there anymore. You might feel pressure to act more mature or different just to fit in with this older crowd. Don’t. First of all, there’s nothing more obnoxious than a freshman who thinks he/she is better than everybody. Second of all, you’ll come off as fake and awkward.
Your awesomeness will transcend to high school soon enough. We will quickly understand that you are one freaking amazing person, and we will sacrifice unicorns to honor your greatness.
Until then, just be yourself.
5. Find your circle.
This is an obvious and somewhat clichéd tip but one worth emphasizing.
Finding the right friends is essential to a good high school career; avoiding the wrong ones is essential to not making it miserable. They can call you when you’re upset over some guy (or girl; I’m doing this from a heterosexual female point of view), cover for you when you’re out some place you’re not supposed to be, entertain you in your most boring classes, and distract you from studying, causing you to fail that important test you both had.
Apart from the latter point, a good group of friends is the key to surviving your next four years.
Assuming you’re not a loner, you may already have a group ready for high school. You may think that the people you hang out with now are the ones you’re going to end up with at the end.
That may be true for some of you but I’m telling you right now as your optimistic little heart is still beating gummy bears and butterflies, don’t expect it to happen with 100% faith because you might be setting yourself up for disappointment.
I’m not saying that none of your middle school buddies will continue onto being your high school buddies; I’m saying that people change and you yourself (hopefully) won’t be the same person you are now. You will have new classes, new interests, new friends, and will sometimes have to leave old friends behind. Fortunately and unfortunately, this isn’t something you’re going to notice. It doesn’t come upon suddenly as though one day, you’ll wake up and find your best friend sitting at a different lunch table. It’s a slow, deteriorating process in which you and your comrades will text less and less, talk less and less, and spend less and less time together until your friendship withers down to only a smile of acknowledgement in the hallway.
Oh, and if you’re going to a different school than these people, expect everything I just said to happen twice as soon and without the smile in the hallway.
Are you and your BFFs the exception to my theory? Maybe. Possibly. Possibly not.
This all may seem depressing, and it is. We just have to accept change like we accept our creepy uncle’s kisses; with reluctance and disdain while at the same time realizing it has good intentions. (Hopefully. I don’t know the personal agenda of your uncle.)
Don’t hold back because you’re scared of losing your friends. Don’t let fear of losing your past keep you from embracing your future. When you find your circle, which may or may not consist of some familiar faces, you’re set.
I’m not quite sure if I helped ease your fears of high school (which was my intention) or elevate them to staggering levels. Either way, I hope my blog helped everyone who read this, even if you’re not an incoming high school freshman and just a random WordPress straggler.
If you are an incoming high school freshman, I leave you with these last cheesy and (hopefully) reassuring words:
Calm down. High school is not scary; it can be as awesome as you are willing to make it.
Go out there, talk to people, do (legal) things, take risks, and learn learn learn.
Your beloved blogger,