It’s that time of the year when my senior year is coming to a close, and it’s time to reflect on how much crap I went through in high school.
Just kidding. It wasn’t all crap. But here’s some advice for you frosh out there. A lot of you won’t listen to me, because you’re freshmen and that’s what freshmen do. We’ve all been there, and we all regret it. So, yes, I’m helping you by sharing the wisdom that I think I have.
1. The first day of school is important and scary.
I know I always say to be yourself, but that doesn’t mean to flaunt yourself and tell the whole school who you are. We all know who you are: you’re the kid who will be walking around the school with a map in front of your face while bumping into teenagers who are a lot bigger than you.
You don’t want to be identified as “GREEN LIGHT. IT’S A FRESHMAN OVER HERE.” So here’s a tip: don’t dress up too fancy for the first day. Why? Because it’s school. Don’t stand outside the school and take pictures of yourself. Why? Because the building will be standing there for the next four years and you can take a picture in that time and say it was the first day. Plus, you’re holding up the carpool lane. We’d like to park please.
Don’t buy anything that identifies you as a freshman. “Freshman Class of 2018” is the code for “Please pick on me first”. If you want a Class of 2018 shirt or something, buy it when you’re not a freshman. You’ll have plenty of opportunities.
2. Freshman Friday is a thing.
This wasn’t a big deal at my school, but in case you were wondering what Freshman Friday is, it’s the first Friday of the year when all the upper class men pick on the freshmen. Yes, it’s bullying, and that’s why it wasn’t really a big deal at my school since you were in trouble if you were walking around in the halls with a marker in your hand. I do know there are schools where freshmen get pushed down staircases and end up in the hospitals.
That’s where I draw the line. If this is a possibility at your school, I’m going to have to say that you should skip school. Not because you want to, but because it’s probably necessary.
3. You should eat up clubs and sports like it’s a feast.
Explore and adventure the many extracurricular activities that exist in high school but not in little middle school. It’s fun to join the Ultimate Frisbee team or the debate team or the film geeks. Don’t ever go to one activity and be like, “Oh, I like it here.” You may like activities more, and later on, you will drop out of those teams since you will have to learn how to balance academics and extracurricular activities. By the time you get to senior year, you’ll find your crew and what you like to do best.
Biggest thing to iterate: college does not care if you join every club and sport. They do not care. At all. This is coming from experience.
4. Do your homework.
This is where I transition into the rest of your high school journey, because freshman year is the easiest thing that you will ever live through academically. Even if you’re taking honors courses. What I think is the purpose of freshman year is to find your own study habits and learn how to time manage. Use your first year as a practice tool. Because sooner or later, you will become the lazy procrastinator that I am right now.
5. Friends will change.
I might be slapped for this, but here’s the truth: they go and they come. You will change and you will be a hormonal roller coaster in high school. Your friends will too. Frankly, you may not even be friends with the same people you are with right now because they’re also going to change.
But you know what? That’s okay.
Your morals, your personality, your likes and dislikes will change. But don’t completely isolate anyone or block anyone out from who you are. If an old friend tries to talk to you, participate in conversation with them. You don’t have to hang out with them that weekend: it’s just catching up. Don’t isolate them or ignore people just because you think you’re better than them or you grew apart. Try talking to them, first, then judge.
Biggest mistakes I ever made. I did not attend many parties or homecomings. I didn’t even go to Prom. Yeah. It’s expensive, but an experience.
You may not be that kid who’s extremely social and wants to get drunk with the cool kids at tailgating parties. But it doesn’t hurt to just go to the party. It doesn’t hurt to be social. In fact, it’s a benefit. Try going to a party sober: it’s hilarious.
Experience the life. You know the one way you’ll definitely hate the homecoming? To never go in the first place. If you don’t go anywhere, by my age, you will regret it. I don’t care if some guy doesn’t ask you to Prom with a flash mob and a karaoke song: you can still go and you might find out that you’ll have just as much fun.
7. It’s hard to fit in.
Look, kid. You’re reading a post from the one girl who never fit in. This isn’t what you’re thinking, though: I’m not that emo kid who wanted to skip school everyday because she never had any friends and was extremely depressed. But I’ve been through that phase where I tried to be part of a bunch of different social groups and have a lot of friends. Actually, I still am.
You know in Mean Girls when Janice Ian names everyone in the lunch room? Asian Nerds, Sexually Active Band Geeks, Girls Who Eat Their Feelings, etc. Let me tell you something: I like to categorize myself as a Wanderer, because you know what? I don’t actually know if I have a lot of friends: I haven’t spent enough time with any of them to tell whether or not they are my friends or they have my back. I don’t know who to sit next to at lunch because I don’t hang out with every group every weekend to be able to understand the gossip without them lamely explaining it to me.
Don’t laugh at me. Please. It sucks being a Wanderer because you don’t know who you can talk to without making it extremely awkward. Yet, I love being a Wanderer. I don’t feel obligated to hang out with people every weekend or to have to lie about how good they look in a certain outfit. I don’t have to be sucked into random people’s drama because I’m not around long enough to even know what’s going on. It’s great! So don’t feel bad for me and don’t be a douche and laugh at me.
But you’ll find your place. I’ve kind of found a good standing ground because I did so many extracurricular activities. I’m alone but I’ve found my place: it’s with everyone else and myself. Plus, cliques aren’t as defined as they are in the movies. There are people who intermingle with each other because everyone wants to do so many activities and that’s how they meet new people.
8. Remember this: Even if you’re a Wanderer or a “Cool Asian”, you’ve found your place.