What I Wish I’d Known as a Freshman | Teen Ink

What I Wish I’d Known as a Freshman MAG

November 9, 2013
By nikiiiZ GOLD, Chicago, Illinois
nikiiiZ GOLD, Chicago, Illinois
12 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Senior year has been one of reflection for me. I find myself thinking about my first days of my high school. It's pretty funny how life works out. I never could have imagined myself where I am now. And now that I'm here, there are a few things I wish I'd known that would have made the transition to high school so much easier. I'll offer you these tips in the hope they help make your high school days happy ones.

1. Talk to and get to know people outside your “group.”

By the end of my first semester of freshman year, I had a close group of four friends. We were inseparable. I only hung out with these four girls outside of school, and while I talked to others in school, I was never outgoing or friendly with them. I was one of those girls who didn't want to let anybody new into my group.

By junior year, my group of four had begun to branch out. We still hung out, but we had other friends too. Slowly, our clique was torn apart by mutual agreement. Now that I'm a senior, I have gotten pretty close with about a dozen other girls, and I wish I had branched out earlier.

2. Grades are important, but if you get a disappointing one, it's not the end of the world.

Junior year, I took AP English Language and Composition. It was definitely the hardest class I'd ever taken. The material was difficult and the teacher was strict. I had a ton of homework every night and was struggling to grasp it. My first semester grade was a C+. I had never received lower than a B in any subject, ever. I was demoralized. I felt like a failure. I thought that this grade would affect how colleges would see me. I thought I wouldn't receive academic scholarships because of it. Bottom line: I really freaked out.

Lo and behold, here I am nearly ten months after I received that grade, accepted by four colleges. Moreover, I have received the presidential scholarship at all of these schools, ranging from $48,000 to $78,000. Clearly, one unfortunate semester grade didn't influence the colleges' decisions. I wish I hadn't spent so much time freaking out over one bad grade. It really wasn't the end of the world.

3. No one cares about you as much as you do. Be yourself.

I spent most of my time in high school trying to please others. I really wanted to be liked by most, if not all, people. If a dozen people liked me but one didn't, I would obsess over that one opinion. For this reason, I often didn't speak my mind and was relatively quiet in school. Basically, I wasn't being myself for fear others wouldn't approve.

Now, however, I realize that it's okay if not everyone likes me. Plenty of people care about me and like me for me. I like me, and really, that's all that matters. Focusing on the positives will help you have more fun.

4. Step outside your comfort zone.

I played it safe for the first half of high school. I was afraid to sign up for unusual classes or join clubs without at least one of my close friends. As I was considering classes for junior year, however, I realized that I was being ridiculous. I realized that I should choose classes that really interested me – whether my friends took them or not – because in those classes I would meet others with the same interests.

This proved to be true. While most of my friends took Tech Theater junior year, I signed up for Creative Writing. I ended up loving the class and became close with one of my new classmates. Taking risks can be beneficial.

5. Have fun and do whatever the heck you want.

Ten years from now, most of what you experienced in high school will be completely irrelevant. That's not an invitation to be reckless and experiment with dangerous or illegal things. What I mean is, all the drama you experience and all those feelings you have, little to none of it will matter ten years from now. So forget about the insignificant stuff happening in your life right now and just have a good time. Find your niche. Surround yourself with good people. Fix what you can, and don't fret about what can't be fixed. But most of all, have fun. You're only in high school once.

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