Freshman Year: A Guide

Nejra Hojic
Edited by Zoe Jones 
Published on
July 3, 2023

Going into high school is a huge transition that people aren't given enough credit for. From getting involved in school activities to keeping up with academics, it can be a big struggle, and slip-ups can follow you for a long time. Unfortunately, there isn’t a guide handed out to anyone entering high school on how to manage these things, so I've decided to make my own. 

When entering high school, mind that you must keep up with academics. The workload that comes with high school is one of, if not the most difficult aspect of the transition and it's one that I personally struggled with as a freshman. I previously had a horrible workload balance and I would nearly always procrastinate my assignments. In high school, that isn't realistic if you want to succeed. Falling behind on your tasks and expecting to get them done at some undetermined time also is a bad idea as they will pile up.  

Utilize tutorials, homeroom, study hall, etc. 

It's easy to decide to sleep, read, or even talk to your friends during these types of classes, however, they can be much more beneficial if you use them as intended. Completing your work in these classes, ensures that you can catch up on assignments or finish them early. Additionally, you're able to get help or collaboration from others if you need it.  

Figure out your productivity routine 

High school is a valuable time for self-discovery. Start by establishing if you are a morning person, a night owl, or someone in between. By doing this, you can build a schedule and routine around that. If you are most productive in the afternoon, do your homework and study right after school. If you prefer the morning, try getting used to waking up earlier and doing your work then. It's also equally important to figure out what conditions are best for you. Some people prefer studying in quiet environments like libraries while others work better with background noise like in cafes. By figuring these things out early on, you will be able to fall into routines faster and make the most out of your time. 

Rely on discipline instead of motivation 

Oftentimes, people assume the best time to get things done is when they are motivated to do something. The problem with that is, you won't always feel motivated. In those cases, it's important to get into routines and create discipline for yourself. Simple things like taking a cold shower for 2-3 minutes in the morning can encourage your brain to do things it doesn't want to (and also has other health benefits like increasing alertness and focus). By using schedules and routines, you're able to use your time more efficiently and not be stuck doing things last minute. 

Create relationships with teachers 

You don't have to be best friends with every single one of your teachers, and there will probably be some you don't like. However, try to pick 1-2 teachers or mentors that you do like and do your best to get close with them. Be an active participant in their class, turn in assignments on time, and do your absolute best with their work. By doing this, these teachers are more likely to be lenient and give extensions on assignments. They may also be more lenient with grading your work. One thing a lot of people don't realize is, you will need to get letters of recommendation from your teachers, for certain colleges. Sustaining these relationships, even if they may no longer be your teachers is especially important when you realize this. So be helpful; stop by their classrooms and ask if they need help, ask to be a teaching assistant (TA) for them, and make yourself a memorable student. TAs are often upperclassmen and individuals who help out with putting together work, cleaning up the classroom, and sometimes even grading. This position can be very useful for college admissions and is a great learning opportunity. 

Join clubs and involve yourself 

Run for student council, be on the yearbook committee, and join clubs. It's important to explore interests and doing this earlier in high school allows you to express more dedication and commitment to extracurriculars. This is much more important for college than most freshmen realize. Join as many clubs as your school offers (note that you should have some level of interest in them) and by the end of the year, narrow it down to 3 clubs that you are willing to set aside time for. 

High school is a vital time for any adolescent. It is a time of struggle but also a period of learning, self-reflection, and growth. Use every moment to create memories, meet new people, and ask questions. School may feel neverending, but when it does come to an end, it will seem like it went by in the blink of an eye, so enjoy your time. 


Coelho, Steph. “Night Owl vs. Early Bird: Benefits, Downsides, and How to Tell.” Healthline

15 October 2021,

Swaminathen, Abishek. “Cold showers for better health, mood and focus - fact or fiction?” 

ONiO, 22 August 2021,

Wim Hof Method. “What are the Benefits of Cold Showers?” Wim Hof Method

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