Freshman! The term brings back memories. Not only do I remember being on the receiving end of many remarks of ill intent as one, but I also remember having the gonads to walk through the seniors’ hallway taunting them as I myself yelled, “Freshman! Freshman!” *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap” “Freshman! Freshman!” *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap*
Surprisingly enough, however, I ended up getting through freshman year without any serious damage. I got pushed into a vending machine one time, but we’ll get into that later.
Seeing as I’m set to enter my senior year of high school in a few weeks I thought I’d take some time to look back at the beginning of my high school career and offer you new cats on the block some advice for getting through this year without being too traumatized.
Join A Sport (Or At Least Some Clubs)
This piece of advice probably makes me sound like a hypocrite after pursuing an interest in juggling and opting not to play soccer the past two years. The truth is, however, that I wouldn’t give up my freshman year of soccer for anything. It was perhaps the two funnest months of my life, it helped me meet some of my best friends and it provided me with memories I’ll never forget.
There’s several reasons I’d recommend you join a sport as well. The first as I said is the potential for making new friends. Not to sound overly pessimistic, but there’s enough sucky things about high school as it is. You don’t want to try getting through the next four years of your life without anyone to hang out with, do stupid sh!#, and make memories with.
Joining a sport helps combat this as the natural camaraderie you experience with your team mates will often translate to off the field relationships as well. When you’re taking the bus to an away game, and your entire team is Whistling to Flo Rida’s Whistle song it’s not a big stretch to go from fellow Whistlers to friends.
Making friends in the classroom certainly isn’t inconceivable, but it’ll probably take longer, and it’s just a little bigger of a stretch than going from fellow Whistlers to friends.
It’s also nice, however, to have relationships from fall sports so that on the first day(s) of school you can be more at ease knowing that you’ve already got familiar faces to point you in the right direction when you get lost, and friends you can sit with at lunch.
Of course, the other benefit of being in a sport is that it’ll benefit you on a personal level by keeping you in shape. A healthy body leads to a healthier mind and improved emotional health. Two things that you definitely want to have in high school.
Even if you don’t LOVE sports I’d still recommend you join one freshman year. If you’re just not down for any of the sports your school offers though I’d say to at least join some clubs. Even if they sound stupid you may enjoy them and if not you can quit later.
The most important thing is that being a part of some extracurricular activities will allow you to make friends and prevent the awkwardness of trying to work your way into an already established clique later.
Focus On School
I’ve learned a lot in high school, but little of that has come from the actual academic curriculum. With that being said, I still think it’s important to pay attention, and maintain decent grades in school.
You might think that you’re going to be a professional athlete, or successful business owner in five years, but it’s difficult to really know for sure where you’re headed when you’re as young as we are. Your interests will likely change over the next few years so you want to keep your options open and at least have the opportunity to attend university if you so choose.
I’m not saying you have to take all advanced classes, and spend your entire weekends pouring over the scandalous amount of homework you’ve been given. I think that’s a stupid way to spend your high school years. I’m just saying to put in a reasonable effort so that you’ve got some flexibility with your future when you get to be my age.
Don’t Let Stupid Sh!# Get To You
Like I mentioned earlier I got shoved into a vending machine when I was a freshman. There was a junior who hated me because sometimes when he’d mock me I’d bust out my own verbal game and make him look like a tool in front of the girl he was trying to impress. Most the time, however, my only response to his insults was laughter.
This drove him even more crazy than when I delivered my comebacks. Ironically enough, I wasn’t even trying to taunt the kid with my laughs. I just honestly found humor in his insults and the fact that I was living in such a strange reality where his insults were directed at me of all people.
One day I laughed so hard at one of his insults he pushed me as hard as he could and I yelled, “Wheeeee!!! It’s like a roller coaster!” as I stumbled across the hallway. Then he yelled, “You like roller coasters HUHH?” and pushed me again as I flew across the hallway and crashed into a vending machine.
While most people would feel embarrassed or cry after something like that you know what I did? I laughed! And not a fake laugh either, but one of those laughs where you’re laughing so hard your stomach begins to hurt.
The kid didn’t have the balls to do anything else because a teacher came out of her class and I stood there trying not to fall over because I was laughing so hard at the absurdity of the entire situation. What’s the lesson here?
Don’t let stupid sh!# get to you. Half of my arm had turned somewhat green the next day because it had been quite a decent bruise, but I’d actually enjoyed the whole fiasco. I took pleasure in a dumb ass pushing me into a vending machine because I took nothing personally and was able to find humor in the strange reality I’d found myself in.
I’m not saying you need to be as obnoxious as me or humor yourself to the point where another kid wants to physically harm you. What I would say, however, is to not take stupid shit so seriously.
Learn to laugh at yourself when your pencil rolls off your desk a dozen times in the same class. Don’t let your expectations of how the world should work detract from the humor you could otherwise take away from the circumstances you find yourself in. This is something that extends far beyond high school and is something most adults would do well to learn.
Cultivate An Interest In Personal Development
Call me biased as I run a self-improvement blog, but I sincerely believe that cultivating an interest in personal development from a young age is possibly the single best thing you could do for yourself.
There’s certainly problems with personal development as well, but you’d be amazed at the change you can achieve if you apply yourself over the next few years. Find some books or blogs your resonate with, learn from them, and get to work on tackling your insecurities and bad habits.
You could go from suffering moderate social anxiety to living in social abundance and waking up to two or three invitations to hang out each morning. You could go from a skinny loser, to the jacked monster who owns your school’s dead lifting record. You could go from never having written a creative page in your life to publishing a decent novel by the time you’re a senior.
But these things aren’t going to take care of themselves. You’ve got to be proactive if you want to change the circumstances of your life. You don’t necessarily have to if you’re completely content with your life, but I think most of us have things about ourselves we’d like to change.
The process of taking in personal development material and applying it is what will allow you to most effectively do that.
Go Out With Your Friends And Have Fun
Getting good grades in school or spending time reading personal development material is great, but at the end of the day you’re not going to be happy if that’s all your doing. You’ve got to get out there, hang out with your buddies, and live a little as well.
Make memories for yourself. Whether that’s asking the cute chick in your Algebra class to Homecoming, Whistling on the bus with your teammates to Flo Rida, or laughing as you get pushed into a vending machine is irrelevant. Personally I’d recommend the last option ;), but hey, it’s your life and it’s up to you to decide what you’d like to experience.
Just remember that even though working hard is important, it’s also important you learn to let go and have a good time as well. For every weekend you stay inside studying you should spend another at the beach catching waves and building sand castles.
Maybe you’re a diehard country girl reading this, but I think we could agree most teenagers enjoy rap music. For that reason I’ll leave you on a quote by Wiz Khalifa, “Work Hard, Play Hard.” For the next four years of your life that’s not a bad philosophy to live by.
Pictures are from 2011 in the months leading up to the beginning of my high school career. The first picture is some bad muffins I made, and the second picture is me making a face when I realized my sister didn’t have enough seats for everyone and that I was going to have to sit in on the ground.
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