- Andrea Donlucas
The ‘Freshman 15’ is a common phenomenon in which occurs among incoming college students. It is a term used to refer to the fifteen pounds a person gains in their first year in a university or college. This year, I was a freshman at Brighton High School, and although I did not gain weight, I did gain knowledge. Here are fifteen valuable things I learned this year as a freshman.
1. Be(come) outgoing. In eighth grade, I was always quiet, I hated being the center of attention, and I would get really nervous when I had to talk various people. It makes me laugh when I think back to last year because now, I try to be friends with everyone. It makes me happy, especially because I surround myself with positive people who care about their education as much as I do. If you go out and try this out for yourself, start with people who have similar interests as you (maybe in a club!). Also, talking to new people genuinely helps you become more confident with yourself.
2. The more involved you are, the better. Maybe you’ve heard your parent or an older sibling say, “Get into clubs! Do sports! Talk to lots of people!” They have a reason for this. This year, I was a part of VOIHCE, student government, newspaper, drama, and tennis. I made many new friends and experienced things that I would never have experienced if I stayed in my little comfort zone. It may be hard to find what you enjoy doing but you will never know if you never try.
3. It is okay if you embarrass yourself. When you embarrass yourself, it probably doesn’t make you feel too great. Moments like these are what make our day to day lives more interesting; they’re the stories you may be telling your children one day! So go out there and spice up your life.
4. You must hold yourself accountable for anything and everything. A common phrase among high schoolers is, “It’s not my fault.” Spoiler alert: it kind of is. You are responsible for your grades, mental, emotional, and physical self, and social life. It can get overwhelming, however, if you surround yourself with the right people, they can be there to help you through every step of the way. Whatever it is, make sure you’re doing the right thing because in the long run, the only person being affected is you!
5. Trust but don’t trust too much. In high school, there are many opportunities for you to slip into the middle of gossip. However, those situations only occur when trusting the wrong people with secretive or valuable information. During the first weeks, stick with who you know, eventually, through the year, you’ll find new close friends. Don’t tell those people everything that goes on in your life, though. Sometimes it’s better to keep things to yourself. That way, your life story isn’t revealed to the whole world which will save you from a horrendous situation!
6. Focus on and love yourself. This one takes a long time to figure out but that’s absolutely okay. In this day and age, everyone compares themselves to unrealistic bodies on social media. We often forget to think about how heavily edited the images are and that every person is different in a beautiful way. You are the way you are for a reason, so be confident in yourself!
7. The music you listen to influences your mood. I prefer listening to music that matches my current emotions, and you probably do too, but that actually does more harm than good. It’s better to listen to music that puts you in the mood you want to be in. Happy music is the best music. Fake it ‘till you make it.
8. Patience is key. I know that I always want things to happen right then and there. For example, I was stuck in a sticky situation with a break-up recently. I ended things because he made a better friend than a boyfriend. I didn’t know that he would eventually come around and our friendship would work out later all because I wanted all those problems to be solved right away. So, if you find yourself in a similar situation or a bad spot in general, take a breath and go a step at a time. Everything will fit into place and it will all be okay.
9. Oh boy, I struggled with this one: don’t take everything to heart. Going into high school, I carefully listened to everything everyone told me and thought they meant every bit of it. Turns out, people tend to release their anger or stress on their peers just because they don’t know what else to do- even if they didn’t do anything wrong. If this happens to you, just listen to what they have to say but know that what they’re saying probably doesn’t have anything to do with you.
10. Clean out your backpack as often as possible. Admit it, you don’t check your backpack on a daily basis. Who does? However, after a good while, things get cluttered and a funky smell may arise. It won’t hurt to take your school supplies out of your bag and throw away all of your gum wrappers and tissues on the three day weekend!
11. Be nice to your teachers! This is not something I learned necessarily but my ‘theories’ (insert better word choice) about it were reinforced. I’ve noticed that many students disrespect their teachers by talking back or not showing up to class. Those same students are the ones who ask for extra credit toward the end of the semester and blame their Ds and Fs on the teacher. The solution to this problem is ask questions when you have any and go to class. That would automatically show the teacher that you care about the class.
12. Freshman year matters. This is the year that you get your first GPA and every year that follows depends on these two seemingly useless semesters. Don’t let a single day to go to waste!
13. GPA over popularity. Don’t get caught up in your social status because after high school, no one remembers who you were in a relationship with or how many friends you had.
14. Reach out for help if and when you need to. With the overwhelming amount of work piled on top of us high schoolers, we forget that there are people around us who are willing to help get some weight off our shoulders. If you’re feeling stressed, tell someone! Get all of your emotions out and you will feel much better afterword. You are not alone.
15. (This may sound like it contradicts some of my other points but:) have a great time. You’re only in high school once and you get busy and perhaps more stressed after those four years. If you have some free time on the weekend, go to the movies with your friend or dance to music in your room. Don’t feel pressured into thinking life in high school is only about grades and passing tests!