So you’ve made it to high school, eh? Congratulations. Welcome to Hell. With all-new classes, new people, cliques, talk of college, and, of course, the unrelenting upperclassmen, you’re in for a…well, a year that’s certainly going to be interesting.
It’s not going to be all bad, though. Allow me, a reigning Senior, to give you some advice.
Tip #1: Ignore the Seniors
Trust me on this one. Ignore the Seniors (excepting me, of course-I’m the rare Freshie sympathizer). The first thing they told us my Freshman year was that we were to ignore the upperclassmen at all costs; there is no pool and there is no second floor. Now, I don’t know how your school is set up (there could very well be a pool, second floor, and elevators for all I know), but I do know that many seniors will go out of their way to antagonize the underclassmen, especially the Freshmen.
It’s not always obvious, either-my Freshman year, there was a Senior that went out of her way to “befriend” the underclassmen and then give them shoddy advice, just to see if they would follow it and embarrass themselves to no end. Do yourself a favor and ask a teacher if you don’t know where something is.
Tip #2: Stay Cool
A lot of changes are going to occur in Freshman year. Middle school friends become enemies, teachers expect more out of you, gossip takes a more vicious turn, and everybody (and I do mean everybody) starts asking what you plan to do after you graduate, even though you’ve still got four years to figure it out. You’re treated like crap by the upperclassmen, hazing runs rampant (sometimes even from the teachers, even though they should know better), everybody (again, sometimes even including the teachers) makes fun of you behind your back, and you wonder why the heck they invented Freshman year in the first place.
I promise, it gets better. It does. Really. Just breathe, stay cool, and get yourself a good friend who’s right there with you. Take a time-out, relax, and trudge forward. Develop thick skin, Freshie, because you’re going to need it.
Tip #3: Be Humble
One of the reasons everybody hates Freshmen is that they have an inflated sense of their own importance. And, hey, it’s understandable-you’re coming from the big-shot position of Big Kid on Campus. In eighth grade, you reigned supreme. You were in charge of the underlings at the middle school, or at least it felt like it. The sixth graders feared you, anyway. Or at least…well, okay, maybe not, but you were bigger than they were. That counts for something.
In ninth grade, you become the underdog. You become the poo on everybody else’s shoe. You’re the skid-mark on the underpants of high school society (you also get ten points of you can tell me what movie that sentence references). And, as the resident skid mark, everybody hates it when you think you’re still on top. You don’t get to be on top for four more years, so do yourself a favor and don’t get cocky. You’re a Freshman. Leave the overlording to the Seniors. It’ll keep everybody happy.
Tip #4: Do Your Work
Seriously. Do your work. College pressure is going to be starting before you know it, if it hasn’t already, and keeping on top of your grades is key. Take hard classes. Keep up with your work. Don’t slack. You’ll regret it later. And, for the love of God, don’t take a remedial class when you could handle an AP workload. Colleges look at that kind of thing-and they don’t like lazy goof-offs.
Tip #5: Remember This Year
Remember this year once you move on. Remember that you were treated like crap. Remember that Freshman year is hell. Remember that everybody else is a jerk to you. When you get to be an upperclassman, remember what it was like to be hazed and all but tortured. Some see this as their chance for revenge, but in reality it’s just continuing a terrible, vicious cycle. High school is hell enough without all of that crap, and if you take a moment to remember what you went through, you might be hesitant to pass it on. And if you don’t pass it on, then maybe, eventually, high school might just be bearable. Maybe.
There are many more tips and tricks, but these five will get you through the year. Just remember to stay cool, keep your head in check, do your work, and remember everything you go through. And, for the love of all that is holy, ignore the Seniors. Freshman hunting is a sport, and we don’t have to have a permit to bag you poor saps. Watch your back, don’t be afraid to go to teachers and counselors for help, and if everything gets to be overwhelming, please, please, please take a breather and talk to your parents. They know what it’s like, even when it doesn’t seem like it.
Happy Freshman year! It’s an oxymoronic statement, but I wish you the best, anyway-have fun, be safe, and remember these five tips. Everything’s going to be okay.