How to survive freshman year


art by Megan Goyette

Caylea Ray

art by Megan Goyette
art by Megan Goyette
The graduating class of 2019 at  RBHS consists of  more than 500 freshmen from various primary schools of Columbia. Becoming a freshmen was different three years ago when ninth grade was still apart of junior high schools, but now it is ninth through 12th grades in all high schools. For my first year of high school, my surroundings remained familiar because the schools had yet to change.
The transition from middle school to high school can be terrifying for young students — the fear of new surroundings, meeting new people, more  responsibilities — all of these play a role in the anxiety for incoming ninth graders. As a senior, I have, of course, made many mistakes in high school. Although I do not  regret any of the mistakes I have made — I have learned from them, after all — there are things I wish I had known my freshman year that would have made my life much easier.
Study. You’re going to spend 13 years of your life in school, so you might as well learn. The biggest mistake I’ve made in high school is not caring enough about my education. I’m one of those people who isn’t good at math, and by not studying for my algebra tests, I ended up failing algebra my freshman year. Because I didn’t understand algebra, it has made other math classes more difficult for me to understand.
Studying is different for everyone. Students are busy with other things so they might not have enough time in their day to do so. There will always be a reason not to study for your huge math test or write your essay for Civics, but once you get to your senior year and realize you won’t get accepted into the college you’ve dreamed of attending because your grades were less than perfect your freshmen year of high school, it will most likely bring on a panic attack and lots of crying. If I had made school a bigger priority, my four years would have been a lot easier. Work your butt off and once you have that math test in the bag, play as much as you want. (Tip: Paying attention in class will cut your study time in half, so stop stalking your crush’s Instagram and pay attention.)
Grades aren’t everything. School should not consume your life. There’s more to high school than just spending hours doing homework. You don’t want to be halfway through your senior year of high school thinking you haven’t experienced life or done something you’re passionate about because you were too busy working. My sophomore year I took journalistic writing, the pre-requisite to newspaper. I didn’t plan on joining newspaper because I believed that I needed to focus on school. Yet now here I am, writing this article. I know my high school experience wouldn’t have been as amazing as it has been if I had listened to my 16-year-old self and avoided doing something I loved. Enjoy your years in high school because one day it will all be over. (Tip: Take as many photos as you can. You will want to remember this time in your life). Grades matter but so does living. Get the best grades you possibly can but don’t stress. It is not the end of the world if you fail an assignment.
Speak up. Talk about things you care about and be honest. Last year, I wrote a commentary about my experience with bulimia, and it was the best feeling in the world to come forward and talk about something I was struggling with. I will never regret speaking out about my struggles because I know I was able to reach out to others who may have been going through something similar. Speak up in class discussions, even if it’s something as little as Donald Trump for president. Compliment that girl in your AP Literature class with the really cool shoes, she may become one of your best friends. You cannot expect to be heard if you never speak up. (Tip: No one else is judging you for speaking up.)
You will change. And that’s O.K. It’s true, high school does change you. Not only has school taught me education wise, but I’ve become a completely different person since I came to RBHS. I’ve lost friends, gained many, found what I am and am not interested in  and who I want to be and what I want to do with my life. Maybe you won’t learn much from your classes or have the best four years of your life but you will learn from your experiences in high school.
(Tip: High school is one step on the journey of life, it is not the main event.)
Is there anything that you have learned in high school that had an impact on your life? Leave comments below.