Some Much-Needed Advice for the 2021 Freshies


Emily Duong, Writer

Entering high school. One of the most exciting yet scariest milestones of childhood. The final stage of school before the next step known as college (if you decide to, of course). 

When I was a freshman, I was definitely thrilled, but nervous as heck. My biggest fears coming in included (but were not limited to) getting lost, difficult classes, being unable to see friends, etc. And so I got off the bus and walked through the doors in the N hallway in an internal nervous wreck. And yes, I got very terribly lost on my first day. However, with some help and perseverance, in a little more than a week, I could at least navigate solely to my four classes. And the teachers were great. And in less than a month, I could find wherever I needed to go in the school. And now I’m about to be a junior. So hey, I survived, and you can, too.

Yes, going into high school for the first time is a new experience, but here’s some advice and tips to help you as you enter this new phase:

1) ASK PEOPLE FOR HELP!! Asking teachers or even older students for help navigating or finding certain places is gonna be a lifesaver. Don’t be nervous, the teachers are more than willing to help you find your way around. And of course, upperclassmen who have been here for a while can definitely help you get around. This doesn’t just apply to navigating, but inside the classrooms, too. Ask teachers for help when you need it because high school classes, just like any class ever, are going to have things that you’ve never heard of and need help in.

2) How to not get lost in the halls. So the halls here are split with different letters in front of the room numbers. Here are some ways to remember them. Downstairs, going across the school, we have hallways S (for south), A (for the auditorium, also all the art rooms), C (for center and the common areas), N (for north), and B (for the band room). Upstairs, we have hallways S, C, N, and B. Also, all rooms that begin with a 2 are upstairs. And once again, ask for help if you need it. Even pull up the map on the Patriot Dashboard (your login is your normal username and password) or print one out if you need to. And don’t let the constant people in the halls make you rush yourself. The first week has a grace period for finding classes, and you’ll get a rhythm eventually. Through a poll taken for this article, on a scale of one to ten, many people between freshmen and senior year averaged at around a 5 when it came to their first week navigating the school as freshmen. At the end of this year, those people averaged at a 9.

3) Some stuff is not a big deal, so don’t make it so. There’s a lot of things that may be worrying you as an upcoming freshman. Some examples that people said in the survey included making friends in the overload of new people, finding classes, strict teachers, mean upperclassmen, grades, and the workload. However, there’s nothing to worry about. Sophomore Elena Saorrono said that something that isn’t a big deal is “[h]aving very strict teachers, they’re actually really nice and easy to get along with. They’re also very understanding at times and are willing to help you with your grades,” and junior Ashley Baragona said, “I was always told it was going to be a lot of work, it wasn’t really much more unless you took AP classes.” Junior Taylor Cunningham said, “Everything [was overhyped about high school]. I was told that my entire life would change but I still have the same mindset as before. I just have a little more challenging homework.” Junior Matthew Pimmel said, “The school really isn’t that difficult to navigate once you take a trip around once or twice. It’s not as confusing as some people make it out to be.” Senior Brenna Oxley said that you don’t need to worry about “[t]he upperclassman. From movies and stories you would think they’re gonna bully you or shove you in the hall. But as long as you stay out of their way in the halls, you’re good!” Recent graduate Lenora Lee said, “Don’t freak out! There will be scary times and times where you’ll be stressed but it won’t last for long. Also, don’t be obnoxious. Eighth grade is over!”

4) Do what you like. Junior Madison Tanner said, “Don’t take classes you know you’ll do bad in just for the sake of doing the class or getting the GPA boost.” This is a big thing. Yes, you do want to challenge yourself and strive to do your best. But don’t take an AP class if you know that you can’t take fast-paced classes or a ton of work. Don’t take a class in something that you know you don’t like. Don’t overwork yourself or pile on loads of difficult classes. But you should try out a class if you think it seems cool. Try out a club or organization if you want to participate or help. You have four years here, so make the most of them. Recent graduate Emma Hardy said to “make sure you take time to do what you love, but don’t be afraid to do something, just because you feel it might take a lot of time.”

5) Don’t take anything for granted! High school is the final school stage. Sure, four years is quite a long time, but it’s gonna fly by faster than you think. As an about-to-be, my freshman and sophomore years flew by way too quickly, especially with COVID throwing the last few months of freshman year into pandemonium. And the beginning of my sophomore year was also quite strange thanks to virtual school. But yet I had fun. In those two years, I joined two clubs, became a secretary in one of them, found that Creative Writing and Multimedia Publications are the best classes ever, reconnected with old friends while making new ones, acted more like myself rather than putting up a false persona, and matured. Haven’t taken any AP classes, but I’ll be taking two this year. High school is going to be precious, so don’t waste it.

6) HAVE FUN! This is the most important piece of advice. Enjoy this new school, make the most of what is offered, and have fun! Elena Saorrono said “You shouldn’t worry too much about what other people think of you. That overwhelmed me a lot and I didn’t focus as much. Just be you and don’t worry if people like you. Instead, you should be deciding if you like them. It’s also important to keep your grades up.” Senior Kelsey Rhen said, “Don’t be afraid to try out classes. Sign up for a Pre-AP or AP course. It’ll really help you. Also, have fun your freshman year. Go to football, basketball, soccer, and volleyball games. High school is all about how you experience it. Have fun and make memories,” and recent graduate Sophie Huh said, “Don’t try too hard to impress everyone especially upperclassmen because in the grand scheme of things the only thing that really matters is graduating.” Junior Marjorie Baumbach said, “High school isn’t as strict, stressful, or hard as you expect it to be, but you should definitely start preparing for your future way before you think you should,” and senior Christine Pham said, “Don’t give in to peer pressure, study hard, have fun, plan for your future, don’t procrastinate like I do.” Let’s end off with Brenna Oxley’s advice: “Everything will be okay. Don’t worry about things you can’t control. High School is supposed to be fun, so live those experiences. Focus on school and set time aside to get that work done- it’ll be best for you in the long run.” Good luck in your freshman year!