Dear Freshmen

Whether it’s teachers’ constant reminders or iconic depictions of high school, there’s always been an awareness that elementary and middle school were just stepping stones for the end goal of everyone’s careers in the public school system. As a result of this awareness as you move from one grade to the next the thought of needing to be “prepared for high school” can flow through your mind. Part of that is the nagging, anticipation of getting to experience what the high school experience is for yourself. The notion of leaving a school you’ve come to know for the past three years for a new location, can be daunting. This is especially true as how you spend the next four years can determine the rest of your life’s course. That reality in itself is nerve wracking, and it is certain that most incoming freshmen feel the exact same way. However, it seriously isn’t as bad as it may seem. In honor of the end of my first marking period as a Warde student, I’m here to inform you on how to operate your freshman year effectively. 

The first day of freshman year can be fearsome, but as with anything, you’re not expected to master high school on your first try.  Disclaimer: it will take a couple days, if not weeks, to accurately memorize your schedule and each individual hallway. However, with help and guidance from teachers around or your fellow peers, you’ll be able to get around, and eventually help others into finding their classes. Personally, it took me some time to find my classes- but I gradually became more accustomed to my surroundings and seeing my classmates walk in my general direction. Overall, the easier it gets to find your place in school, the more effortless it becomes to prevent yourself from being late, and finding your classes efficiently. 

On the subject of grades, there are many aspects to consider. That tiny letter in Infinite Campus will always be a stressful subject, irrespective of what level you’re at. Classes will be decently harder than they were in middle school, and that is completely normal. It will take some time to become adjusted to your classes and absorb what you will be learning. That being said, if you take your courses seriously and give them all the attention necessary, you will be set up for success. 

The school year will start off slow which certainly helps students become more comfortable in their classes before jumping in. So, take that time to fully prepare yourself for the year. Another tip that any freshman should take into consideration is always ask teachers for help. The teachers know freshmen are still adapting to a whole new school landscape consisting of fresh peers and subjects. So, if you’re struggling in a certain subject and you need help understanding, they will help as much as they can to get you to the level you need to be at. Regardless of if you need to clear something up with the course, or if you need help with an assignment, ALWAYS ASK FOR HELP. I mean it. It may be slightly humbling and admittedly not that fun but it will definitely prove to be beneficial for your education career. 

Side Note: Warde has a plethora of resources including the math center(the transparent room attached to the library), mandatory writing conferences and of course there’s the upperclassmen who desperately need tutoring hours for their respective honor societies.

While the academic expectations are heightened, the reigns of freedom are loosened.  From free periods/study halls, clubs to the wide variety of sports team’s there’s a lot to choose from. 

“Besides the phone rules, high school is more lenient with study halls and free periods. There’s less stress.” Erin Song, a freshman at Fairfield Warde High School, said. 

These free periods and study halls vary depending on your schedule. And while some like to live their life on the edge of a mental-breakdown and take 8 credits a year, to normal people, these breaks are always advantageous to have. They can provide you with extra time for doing homework, or even catching up on assignments. Further, while being studious is great, you can also use this free time for what it is: a relaxing break to relieve school induced stress. For the lucky ones who secured free periods during either first or fourth block, you can also leave the school premises early. If managed correctly, these free periods and study halls can help quicken the adjustment period from middle school to freshman year.

The flexible schedule free periods provide are just one of the many advantages high school provides.. Another one of these opportunities are clubs. Unlike Middle School which maybe had a lone yearbook club, here there are endless options, meaning that whatever you’re interested in there is an oddly niche extracurricular to occupy your time with. For those who love to divide there’s the math team, for periodic table enthusiasts there is science bowl, for the writers, newspaper(self-promotion), and for those with too long of a TBR there is the Readers Book Club. 

Sports are another thing available for you to try. Whether you have aspirations of playing in college or are just trying to hang out with friends and gain some hand-eye coordination it’s always good to try out. Whether you choose to pursue sports, clubs or all at once, these  opportunities will not only expose you to new people and interests, but will also look good on dreaded college applications. 

As you try different activities out, it offers you a chance to figure out your passion.

It’s true that people have different high school experiences, however when following some of the tips provided in this article, you may have a better understanding on how to operate your first year of high school. Things might prove to be tough at times, but if you do it right, freshman year will set you up perfectly for the remaining three years. High school grants new people, privileges, and classes to take. Personally, I fully advise you to utilize all your resources and enjoy your first year of high school!

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