Freshman Digest: Surviving the Worst Year of High School

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Freshman Digest: Surviving the Worst Year of High School

Andrew Hammond

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So, you want to survive freshman year. Let me tell you: it’s not easy. You’ve got all the upperclassmen who seem to hate your guts for no valid reason, the two-period-long math classes designed so that you can’t just get whatever grade you want, and the sudden pressure to start dating someone. High school’s not easy, there are many obstacles. But, I survived freshman year, and you can too. Here’s 10 pieces of advice I wish that I (and everyone else) had gotten before the start of the school year:


  1. Make at least one friend in each class. This is something you have to do! Seriously, I can’t emphasize this enough. Many classes require you to do partner work, you don’t want to be that one kid who’s left without a partner. And as much as I dislike talking or interacting or even looking at people, this is high school. And here you do whatever it takes to survive. You don’t like people? Suck it up.
  2. Don’t stress out about your grades too much. I’m not exactly the best person to be writing this, since I panic when my grade drops below a ninety, but worrying too much over your grades is a one-way ticket to the funny farm. If your grade is lower than you would like, relax. You’re going to live. Talk to your teacher about how you can get your grade up. You can check your grades on infinite campus and see how to get your grade up as well.
  3. Attend Academic Support every so often. I know, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it’s tempting to run like The Flash to the door and make your way home and do whatever, but if you’re struggling in a class, commonly biology and math, go to Academic Support and get some help. It’s annoying at first, but you’ll be grateful once you see your higher grade.
  4. Don’t go off campus. EVER. I never actually did this as a freshman, but I knew plenty of freshman who did. It’s tempting to head over to King Soopers and buy food or a Starbucks with your money, but there can be some major consequences for this. There are some people who aren’t allowed to go off as sophomores or juniors because they got caught going off as a freshman. I’m pretty sure no one wants that. You might not seem cool to other people, but you’ll be even less cool when you can’t go off when you’re in your third year of high school.
  5. You don’t have to be in a relationship. You’ll quickly learn that in high school, pretty much everyone is dating someone. In the halls, you’re gonna have to watch those people make out when your heading to class, or listen to them sweet talk during lunch. This sometimes makes people desperate to run off into someone’s arms, even if that person is a total jerk. You don’t have to be in a relationship; give it time. Your life isn’t going to be a loveless story because you weren’t the cutest couple in high school. (Also, if you do make out in the hall, knock it off! No one likes it but you!)
  6. Learn how to deal with jerks. When you were in middle school, you probably had to deal with a lot of really annoying people, but there may not have been a ton. Unfortunately, high school has five times the amount of these people. A) because it has a bunch of people from a bunch of different middle schools, and B) because good people turn into your worst nightmare because of peer pressure. You’re gonna hate them, but you’ll have to learn how to deal with them in a way that doesn’t involve punching his tooth out off his jaw.
  7. Don’t be a jerk yourself. While you need to learn to deal with jerks, the human race would be a whole lot better if we could just admit that sometimes we’re mean to others. Keep yourself in check. If you’re in a bad mood, try to avoid situations that would anger you even more. Find “Inner Peace” within yourself. Learn to be accepting of other religions, races, genders, sexualities. We’re all human beings, don’t be that prejudiced person almost everyone hates.
  8. Respect other people’s interests/disabilities. This kind of goes along the lines of ‘don’t be an jerk’, but this is deserving of its own paragraph, because high schoolers aren’t very sensitive to how others feel. Don’t make jokes about suicide, race, or anything else mentioned in 7. Don’t make fun of that girl for liking a book series, she has different interests than you. Don’t use ‘Autistic’ as an insult. I was diagnosed with that when I was two, so I know firsthand that it can be offensive, as can any other mental illness, don’t be stupid. Don’t be that jerk who calls a gay person a….well, I probably shouldn’t have to say the word, but you know what I’m talking about. Don’t say things like this!
  9. Bring something to do. Yes, classes are boring, especially when you have nothing to do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve finished a test and had to sit there for thirty minutes because I didn’t have something to do. Make sure you bring a school appropriate activity. As fun as it would be to play on your phone for the rest of class, it’s against district policy (Adams 12 District Policy 5030), and the school wifi sucks, so just bring a book or pencils to draw with or something.
  10. Stay out of drama. If there’s one thing in high school that’s very common, it’s drama. And I don’t mean the school plays; do whatever clubs you want. I mean the drama of so-and-so did such-and-such. This can be fun to know, but it can easily be hurtful to others. Again, don’t be a jerk— the drama is not something you need. We’re not here to blackmail anyone.


Okay, I can’t shove everything into one article, but one more thing you’re going to learn is that no one tells the freshman anything. Pep assemblies, AP testing (that doesn’t really apply to freshman, just don’t be too loud during the tests), the Band Concert, all come up by surprise, and some people aren’t the best at staying quiet during announcements for you to listen and know what to expect. Make sure to check the school’s website so you know what’s happening, and I’ll try to keep you as updated as possible. Until next time!

Stay fresh(Man)!