To a current 8th grader,
In a few short months, you will leave your comfortable middle school and become a freshman in high school. People say this all of the time, these next four years will fly by. When you finally realize how true this statement is, you’ll be in the position I’m in now, about to graduate and begin a new chapter in my life. High school can be terrifying, especially as a freshman, so here’s some lessons I’ve learned over the last four years.
Get Involved, but Not Too Much
Getting involved as a freshman is imperative for a successful high school career. Clubs and extracurriculars are a great way to meet new people and make friends. However, joining too many clubs can become overwhelming. Many clubs require a certain number of community service hours and don’t allow you to use hours already used for another club. You are going to have homework and other responsibilities. Too many extracurricular activities can give you more stress than you need.
Know What You Can Handle
As you’re signing up for your freshman classes, think about how much time you typically take to do your homework, and whether or not you’re willing to increase that amount. There will be plenty of decisions to make between regular, accelerated, honors, or AP classes. Some schools even offer dual enrollment courses with community colleges. It’s important to keep in mind how much work you’ll be able to handle.
Try to Get Classes with Friends
Many people may look at this tip and disagree with it because you shouldn’t take a class just because your friend is, and while that’s true, it’s important to know someone well in all of your classes. Having a friend that can help you study and finish homework will be very beneficial and will also help you keep your grades up. Keeping a social life is important for your own sanity. All school work all of the time is too stressful for a person to manage. Friends can help lighten the load.
Be Open to Change
When I started high school, I planned to go to a private university after I graduated to major in nursing. I took health science classes and quickly realized my perfect plan was not perfect for me. I then focused on electives that really made me happy. Having a plan is important, but changing that plan is perfectly fine. Your friends may change too, and while it might hurt, it may be for the best. People grow apart, but they were in your life for a reason. Learn from them.
The next four years of your life will go by quickly, so it’s important to make the most of the time you have. Focus on things that truly make you happy. Keep real friends close, and exclude toxic people from your life. By the time you’re a senior, you’ll be a completely different person, and that’s okay. Don’t lose sight of people who genuinely care for you because they will be there during your darkest days. Hang in there because before you know it, you’ll be receiving your diploma and starting a brand new journey. Learn from your mistakes, and most importantly, stay true to yourself.
Transformations can be scary, but change means growth. That’s always something you can look forward to!
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