Freshman year marks the beginning of a new journey. I remember the night before the first day of schoolI was tossing and turning in my bed because I was absolutely terrified. I knew it wouldn’t be as laid back as junior high; grades will start to matter, the workload will become more intense, and the thought of walking in the same hallway as the seniors or even worsehaving to actually talk to them, makes me want to hide in a corner. Thinking about all of this made me dread entering high school, but the feeling is automatically masked when I thought about all the new things I will be exposed to—school dances, new people, and new opportunities. Through many mistakes, learning experiences, and knowledge passed down to me from upperclassmen, I can say that I finally discovered how high school works—here are 10 things I wish I knew as a freshman.

BE NICE TO YOUR TEACHERS

I know teachers may come off as intimidating, but remember that they are—like us—humans too. Although their class may be intense, their job isn’t to make us miserable, their job is to teach us and help us learn. Now, I’m not telling you to become the teacher’s pet or anything, but doing something as little as hello to them when you walk into the classroom or even telling them that you appreciate them will really brighten up their day. Plus, they’ll be more than happy to help you if you’re ever struggling on the subject they’re teaching.

STOP WORRYING ABOUT UNNECESSARY THINGS

Drama and relationships. Guess what? They don’t matter. So what if Lisa subtweeted you? Learn to let trivial things like that go and focus your energy onto things that do matter, like yourself. Freshman year is about experiencing new things—and yes maybe a relationship is part of that new experience, but if you’re not in one, don’t sweat, but definitely do not put it at the top of your priority list.

ACCEPT CHANGE

As a freshman, I was completely oblivious to the fact that things will change, which is unfortunate because I always became devastated when the changes came. Realize that your friends are going to change, and you are going to change; it’s how we grow as people, and high school is the time that people grow the most. The friends you had in junior high may not stay that way once you enter high school, and the things you thought you liked may not be the things you like anymore, and that’s okay—these things can’t be helped.

DO NOT PROCRASTINATE

This is something I need you to ingrain in your brain. If there is one thing I want you to learn from this article, it’s to NOT PROCRASTINATE. Procrastination will be the end of you in high school. Homework due the next day? Not too bad, you’ll have to stay up later than usual. A 500 point project that’s due the next day and you haven’t started? Bruh, you’re done for.

I found myself constantly choosing netflix over my homework and then having to stay up until 2AM finishing it, wishing I didn’t watch that episode of Grey’s Anatomy and just did my homework instead. I know this is a really hard habit to kick, but you need to start developing a stronger sense of willpower, because this habit will cause your own demise in high school. Trust me.

GET ENOUGH SLEEP

Sleep is extremely extremely important for you, especially if you’re taking a lot of honors classes or doing sports. Not only is it beneficial for your physical and mental health, it is also beneficial for your grades. If you’re staying up till 5AM cramming for that final the next day, you’ll most likely forget everything because you’re so exhausted. Being sleep deprived will also make you hate everything and everyone and that is just not a good feeling to have (unfortunately I have experienced this feeling too many times my freshman year).

ALWAYS STUDY FOR TESTS

Always, always, always study for tests, even if you feel extremely confident, study anyways. This is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life—there was a math test on trigonometric ratios, and I didn’t study because I was doing good on the homework, so naturally I thought I was going to ace the test. Guess what? I got a 19 out of 30 on the freaking test. Wanna know why? Because I didn’t study. Study for the tests.  

GET INVOLVED

I cannot stress how important this is—get involved. Getting involved will make high school become less boring and a lot more enjoyable and lively. Try a new sport or join a new club, it will give you countless of heartwarming and fun memories to look back on, and the club or sport may become like a second family to you. Do not resist from joining something new because of the fear of being bad at it, use it as an opportunity to make you grow. If you want to have an enjoyable high school experience, put yourself out there and make the initiative to join something, because you may never know, you might discover your passion, and passions stick with you forever.

BE TRUE TO YOURSELF

Don’t take a class you don’t want to take for college. Don’t join something you don’t truly love for college. Don’t do anything solely for college—what’s the point in doing something you don’t like? Invest yourself into the things you are truly passionate about.

GET TO KNOW SOMEONE BEFORE JUDGING THEM

Don’t judge someone based off of their reputation or the whispers you hear about them around school. Before you form an opinion about them and start yapping your mouth to everyone else, talk to them first—your opinion might change.

DON’T LET YOUR HAPPINESS DEPEND ON A SINGLE PERSON

This is something I had to learn the hard way. Do not let this happen because it will make you miserable and broken. Be kind to your heart and create your own happiness.

In the end, high school is really about having fun, trying new things, and being reckless every once in awhile. It’s about making mistakes and learning from them, it’s about building new friendships. It’s about finding yourself—high school is the stepping stone for you to finally discover who you are. Your freshman year is your first step in this long and emotional high school journey. I suggest you try and make the best of it, and go into sophomore year with no regrets.

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