The jump from middle school to high school can be daunting. In middle school my parents used to tell me, “If you do not try hard in class, you’ll make a habit out of it and by the time you get to high school, you will not be able to adjust to the workload.”
You’ve probably heard scare tactics like these from your parents, teachers, or guidance counselors. However, high school does not have to be scary. As a senior here at BHS, I would like to give freshmen advice on how to embark on their high school journeys.
The most important piece of advice I received about freshman year was simple: “try your hardest”. In my first year of high school I was often told that freshman year was not important. Upperclassmen told me that colleges didn’t even look at your first year, or that only certain classes, such as math, were important to your future success. However, neither of those things are true. Freshman year will most likely be the easiest year of high school. While it will vary person to person, the classes only get tougher as you mature and expectations are raised each year. Since it will be your easiest year, you should get your best grades of all of your years in high school. Obviously you do not know what your grades will be for your sophomore, junior, and senior years, so you should set the tone now and try to raise the bar each year to show colleges you can handle the workload.
Sadly, during your freshman year you have very little flexibility with your schedule. This is because everyone in your grade takes core classes together, leaving very little wiggle room to adjust your schedule and take electives. You are also probably taking classes like gym and health. These classes are important to take early on in your high school years, because they are required. If you take them freshman and sophomore years you can free up your schedule for your upper class years where you have many more classes to chose from. For example, I got a full credit of gym and half a credit of health my freshman year. The graduation requirement is 1.5 credits for gym and .5 credits for health. This meant I only had to take one semester of gym my sophomore year which freed up space for me to adjust my schedule to take Spanish and band.
However, high school isn’t all about your classes. Another important piece of advice I would give to freshmen is to get involved in extracurriculars. Whether it is a sport, a club, the play, or something else, extracurriculars are a great way to meet new people and enjoy yourself outside of school. My freshman year I was set on trying out for the baseball team, but aside from that I wasn’t going to be involved in anything else. Luckily, my older sister and my friend’s older sister convinced me to try out for the school Jazz Band and to join the Club Rowing team. I ended up loving both; I met tons of new people and had a lot of fun. Sign up for any club that seems remotely interesting to you. Even if you end up hating some of them, you can just leave them and only stay in the ones you like.
My final piece of advice for freshmen is one that helped me greatly over the past few years. If you are having trouble with anything, visit your teacher or guidance counselor. It could be anything from asking what the homework is, to asking for help with an issue back at home. There will always be someone ready to help. High school may be new to you, but the people who work here at BHS have been through and around high school for a long time. Do not be afraid to stop by and ask questions after school, that’s what callback is for.
The transition from middle school to high school can be tough for many students, but it does not have to be. Sometimes new students do not receive the tips they need to succeed until it is too late. If you follow this advice you will not only become a more successful student, but you also will learn to love and enjoy high school.