How to Navigate High School as a Freshman

By
Zofeya Dookie, Edited by Rouen Nelson
Published on
September 15, 2022

It is no secret that the transition from being a “senior” at your middle school, to a freshman at your new one, is scary. Not only are you being introduced to an entirely new environment with people you may not know, but you are also handed a new set of responsibilities that you have to adjust to in a short span of time. Sometimes, the change in workflow and overall lifestyle can get a bit overwhelming, especially since it’s all thrown at you at once. To any incoming freshman this year, here is a list of tips that I’ve gathered from my own experience being a freshman that I hope will ease your burden: 

  1. Establish good relationships with your teachers

Building good relationships with each of your teachers from the beginning of the school year is one of the biggest favors you can do for yourself. Whether it be as a freshman who is completely new to the school, or a senior that is leaving soon, everyone can benefit from keeping in close contact with their teachers. Who knows – you may be returning to that one teacher you were close with in your freshman year as a senior to ask them for a college recommendation letter! A few ways you can go about establishing a good relationship are: actively participating in class so they know you are a dedicated student, asking relevant questions whenever you are struggling with something, and contacting them outside of class about any school-related inquiries you might have. Teachers appreciate when students show initiative in their own education, and most of them will be happy to help with any concerns you may have as a new student to the school. Having a comfortable relationship with your teachers can be very helpful, especially if you feel overwhelmed by work and need an extension. It’s much easier to go to a teacher you frequently are in contact with, than to ask a teacher you barely talk to for something like an extension on an assignment. 

  1. Create connections with upperclassmen

Similarly to keeping in contact with your teachers, knowing upperclassmen who have more experience and knowledge than you can also be a lifesaver during your time as a freshman. If there’s something you’re unsure about, but don’t want to ask a teacher, asking a peer with more experience is a great alternative! It is way easier said than done to befriend random people, but try your best to approach them at school events, or even just in the hallways and ask for their assistance when needed. You can also get to know upperclassmen through joining clubs and sports. Having an older acquaintance will do you wonders when trying to navigate school life as a freshman. 

  1. Plan ahead and keep an organized study schedule

This topic is one that is almost too broad, but it is important that you have a set plan for completing your assignments on time to prevent procrastination, which often leads to burnout. Try to write a new to-do list every week with the assignments you need to complete, and plan out how you’re going to work on them day by day. No matter the subject or task, tackling it gradually with consistent effort will be better for you than having everything pile up to the point where you can’t complete it all. Take breaks in between studying/doing homework and try setting up a group study session with your friends from time to time! One of the most important things that we as students often overlook is taking care of ourselves, so be sure to give yourself the opportunity to unwind and relax when you feel overwhelmed. 

  1. Prioritize self-care

This brings us to our next topic: prioritizing self-care and putting your mental health first. We all want to succeed and make the most out of our school life, whether it be through academics or other activities. But due to this determination, we sometimes forget that not only do we have obligations as students, but as people too. When the stress of tackling an entirely new class or a difficult assignment consumes you, take that as a sign for you to step back and give yourself a break. It may seem as though the world is pressuring you to get things done, and you might be putting pressure on yourself as well, but a break could be the very thing you need to refresh your mind and move forward. One thought that really helped me in my freshman year was how, if I was able to survive rough circumstances before, things would turn out okay this time too! Feel free to refer to the other helpful articles that Simple Studies has to offer about self-care and de-stressing whenever you need a reminder of some ways to take care of yourself.

  1. Enjoy your time as a freshman

Being a freshman can be incredibly scary and stressful, but it can also be a wonderful experience for you to get to know new people and explore more about yourself through the new activities and experiences high school has to offer. Take this chance to open up to people and form new – perhaps even life-lasting– bonds with others who are just as new to this as you are. 

Listed above are just a few guiding tips that I’ve gathered from my own personal experience as a freshman to help you throughout this rollercoaster of an experience. I hope that you will take the tips you feel will benefit you into consideration, and I wish all of you reading this a most successful freshman year! 

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