Your Guide to Surviving High School

Ten Things I Wish I'd Known as an Incoming Freshman


Photo by Alison Mckeough

Freshmen students Savannah H. (right) and Ariana A. (left) navigating the halls of PMHS on their first day of high school.

  1. You’re not going to make new friends right away, but that doesn’t mean you won’t.

Some people come into high school with airtight friend groups and some people come in knowing absolutely no one. No matter how you start out, I don’t know of a single person who has no friends in high school. There are so many people that it’s almost impossible not to meet someone who has similar interests as you. Try to talk to everyone in your classes, and eventually you’ll find someone who you like. I met almost all of my current best friends because I sat next to them on the first day of class. Don’t be afraid to socialize and try to treat everyone with respect. You’ll find your people.

  1. Don’t join every club – pick two or three that you’re really passionate about.

This is definitely a mistake that I made during my freshman year. If you’re a student who thinks ahead to college applications, or if you just like to get involved then joining a ton of clubs might sound like a good idea but you’ll get overwhelmed very fast. High school can be stressful sometimes and if you have a meeting everyday after school it will be tricky to find the time to study and relax. That said, if you choose a couple of clubs then you could invest a lot of time in them and do great things. Focus your energy on the things you care about.

  1. Perfect grades aren’t worth being stressed out all of the time.

Are grades important? Of course! But trying to get a 100 on every test is crazy. Classes in high school are hard and if you become fixated on keeping your grades pristine, you will be anxious and tired all of the time. Realize that school is part of your life, it’s not the only thing you do.

  1. Don’t become unhealthy because you don’t have enough time to take care of yourself.

Like I said, high school can be tricky and you’ll have to work really hard. That doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your mental and physical health. The amount of people who don’t eat breakfast or only get three hours of sleep is crazy. It’s unrealistic. Try your best to regulate your sleep and eating habits. Don’t sacrifice your health.

  1. Try to be friendly with as many people as you can.
  2. Don’t be afraid to make friends with upperclassmen.

Some of my best friends are juniors and seniors that I have met in elective courses or clubs.

  1. Don’t be afraid to talk to your teachers and administrators.

They’re here to help you, really. If you have a problem with one of your grades or with another student, you should absolutely talk with a teacher. Get to know the deans and the administrators. Smile if you see them in the hallway.

  1. Don’t expect to pass all your classes without studying.

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. If you don’t study, you won’t do well. Study for a few minutes each night and you will be fine.

  1. Take electives that you are passionate about.

I took Marine Science, Creative Writing, and Wind Ensemble. I had such a great time in those classes. If you are interested in a class, take it! Electives are usually really fun.

  1. Don’t take high school that seriously.

It’s four years of your life. It will be over before you know it. Make some good memories and try to learn something.