An Open Letter to High School Freshman

Back to school season is fast approaching, and some year-round students may already have started classes. Today, I am going to be talking about some real advice for those just going into high school/9th grade. I only have experience in the American school system, so I am unable to speak on specifics of those going into similar age-level grades in different countries, but feel free to try to apply this information where you can. Some of these tips/notes are directed towards people of any age level or grade.
Join clubs that interest you.
     Find interests and things to put on your resume right away. Go to a club fair. You’re interested in computer programming? Join that computer science club. You want to improve your public speaking skills or have a passion for arguing? Speech and Debate. You want to explore your creative sides? Music or Art Clubs/Societies. You want to be a part of change? Key Club, NHS, Student Government, etc. Find things you may even be slightly interested in and give it a shot. If you don’t like it, there’s no harm in dropping a club, but it’s nice to meet people and expand your interests, and gives you things to start putting on your resume from the beginning.
You aren’t the coolest thing since sliced bread.
     You are now at the literal bottom of the food chain in your school, so take your ego and take it down a couple notches. Being a high schooler does NOT make you awesome, it makes you just like everyone else at some point. Take it as a cool new experience, but don’t act superior or entitled just because you’re a year older. Realize that before reality takes it upon itself to knock you down a peg.
Your grades matter.
     Your grades in freshman year will still affect your overall GPA, so colleges will still see the effects when you’ve finally got your shit together in senior year. It’s not cool to fail classes, and you will seriously thank yourself in later years that you actually realized that your grades in every year matter. They determine all teachers’ views of you, not just your teacher – believe me, teachers will talk about students like NOBODY’s business. I was an aide, and I heard so many teachers talking about unmotivated students or students who were rude, and so that stuff gets around. Your grades determine what classes you get recommended for, and that could affect how far ahead you are by the time you start caring, so do yourself a favor and start caring now.
The people you hang out with now may not be the same crowd you hang with in four years, and that’s okay.
     People are going to change, just as you will, and so you’re going to have falling outs with friends throughout the years. Maybe you and your “best friend” will drift apart because you never see each other, and the girl or guy from your english class will become that person you tell everything to. This is okay, it’s okay to have some friendships die. It’s natural. Now, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t try and be a good friend and stick by your buds, but if you change your crew up a bit, that’s alright too. I was friends with the same 3 core people throughout 3.5 years of high school, and I’m grateful to have had them, but the rest of my friends changed like no one’s business. The same girl I talked to in freshman year I barely spoke 2 words to in senior year, but I made some other amazing friends who have become closer to me than she was.
You’re not gonna be the same person in four years, and that’s okay.
     High school is a time where you’re probably going to grow into a completely different person. You may discover that through all the stress and happy moments that you don’t like the same things you used to, and that’s completely okay. You’re growing and you (should be, at least) are maturing. Accept that change is okay.
Be nice to teachers, or at least cordial.
     You get 0 extra credit points for being the smartass who cracked some stupid joke at the teacher’s expense in the first week, and you sure won’t get any recommendations for being that “cool kid” who is always cursing at the teacher or talking over them. They might not be your favorite person, but if you think you deserve any respect, you have start extending that respect you want unto others. This is a life lesson as well, give people the respect you want and the respect they deserve.
Krys Kestrel
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