From time management to navigating through social structures, high school holds triumphs and challenges

Welcome to your first year of high school. Before you get your hopes up, we don’t start singing and dancing to a perfectly choreographed dance during lunch, and there are no “Plastics” that spend their entire high school career trying to torcher you, unless you count math homework. I can’t promise that high school will be the best years of your life, but I can try and save you from making the same mistakes I did my freshman year.
Freshman year is going to be the easiest yet hardest year of high school. I say this because your assignments are going to be fairly easy, but learning how to manage your time properly is what is how you will succeed through freshman year and the rest of high school. My best advice to avoid failing your classes is to just do the work. My biggest problem last year was procrastination, overcoming procrastination is extremely difficult. I know, I know, I would much rather send random snaps of the ceiling with absolutely no context or reason to random friends on Snapchat too. Learning to deal with procrastination is more of a self taught skill. Personally, I like to get my “hard” homework done as soon as I get home, and then take a break, let my mind rewind, relax for a bit, and then I will do my “easy” homework and study. My mom always told me that “I tried” was a lazy way of saying “I give up”.
You can always try one more time, take her advice and when you’ve finished your class work and the teacher has given you free time, don’t just scroll through your phone trying to entertain yourself. Study your notes from another class, read ahead of your book club, learn something you didn’t know before, help someone else understand what you understand. You may think you are good to go, you have straight A’s, all your homework is done, you think you have nothing else to do, but you do, there is so much more you can still learn. TV makes learning look lame and if you’re smart you’re a “loser,” but learning and being smart is actually really cool. Failing your classes and acting “dumb” is what makes you really lame. A wise friend of mine once said “Just do it.” I didn’t take her advice but I hope you will.
During my freshman year my hardest class was American History. I laugh now because Mr. Grishow’s class is fairly simple, just do the work. I always said his test was the hardest test in the history of tests. It wasn’t until I actually did his assignments and studied that I realized his class was my easiest class.
Freshman year I was the king of slacking, I was asked at the beginning of sophomore year “what changed, since when do you care about school?” The truth is Mr. Grishow’s final is what made me want to try harder in school. The only time Mr. Grishow smiled was when he was talking about football or his family. On my final I got a 97% and he smiled and told me “good work”. That was the moment I realized I wanted to try harder in school.
Before you start to get stressed over grades and start thinking that the only way you will succeed in life is if you have a 100% in every class. You should know that grades are extremely important but high school isn’t just about grades and studying all day everyday. High school is also the time that you find yourself. There are so many opportunities in high school, you don’t have to stick to just one path.
When we are in middle school we all make the same promise, “Best friends for life.” The only problem with that promise is we don’t know the future. The second you walk through those doors at freshman orientation you are surrounded by clubs and groups and sports teams. It’s not easy to say, nor hear, but change is perfectly normal and acceptable.The number one advice I wish I could have received as an incoming freshman is that high school is going to change you. There are so many different groups and clubs and classes that you are going to want to be a part of and your best friend is not going to want that, and that is perfectly normal. I wish I could tell you that everything is going to be alright and you guys will stay besties for the resties, but I can’t. What I can tell you, though, is that when one door closes another door opens. That theoretical door might be the change that you need, and honestly I truly believe that door is high school. Sometimes we have to say “goodbye” to say “hello”
Most teenagers walk through the door to high school and think that it’s going to be just like on TV, but the truth is that it is nothing like that. There are definitely popular kids and sometimes it feels like you are in a movie. Trying to become the “queen bee” is just silly. Everyone in high school is just trying to find themselves, whether it’s through clubs and sports, or getting good grades, or dressing up every day. Everyone here is just as nervous and as scared as you are right now; some are better at hiding it, but everyone here is just trying to figure out what makes them, them. Being the most popular student in school is just absurd. When you walk across the stage at graduation, being the most popular student doesn’t mean anything anymore. No one in college will care if you were the “queen bee,” your future boss will not care if you had the highest status quo in high school, no one is going to care how popular you were in high school, so there is no sense in trying to be popular.
High school is a bumpy, exciting journey where you have four years to be first chair in band, or become the star quarterback. My best advice is to enjoy your time while it lasts. Instead of making fun of spirit week, join in and go absolutely crazy with the theme. Cheer as loud as possible at the games. Join that club. Play that sport. Don’t be embarrassed to be smart. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. High School is going to be weird, messy, complicated, sad, wonderful, and, above all… epic!