a message to any freshman (wherever you may be)

To All The Beginners of New Chapters

I recently discovered that not only have I finished two years of high school, but that I only have two more left. I also have discovered that I am about to embark on one of the worst years of my life, junior year, and take the standardized test that ultimately decides my future. After taking that, I will spend hours filling out college applications to places that I have spent hours narrowing down to, and some of them will be out of my wildest dreams. And hopefully, just maybe, I will find the college I have waited years for. Or maybe, it will be the opposite of what I waited for. I won’t know until I get there.

Recently, I began to reminisce to my freshman year. I started helping out with a program at the high school, Connect 9,  a group of upperclassmen who all come together throughout the year to help freshman become connected within the school. While doing so, something popped in my head. I am going to be a freshman again, just not at the high school. But probably in a different state, on my own, with no parents, which is even scarier. At the same time, I realized it’s all the same. It’s a new beginning in my life.  A clean slate, a new place, and a window of endless opportunities all at my reach. The question that always stands is, how will I take advantage of them?

Since I have already gone through that dreaded year, I figured I’d share some of my maybe, somewhat helpful insight. Here are the things that I learned from my freshman, and sophomore year. Maybe you’ll learn them earlier than I did (hopefully) :

1. Don’t be someone you’re not. 

You will meet dozens of people who are all the same. Dressing the same, acting the same, and thinking the same. Do not be afraid to stand out and take a different path. Kids your age may not respect it, but adults will. Original wins, always.

2. Change is OKAY. 

Although it’s terrifying and stressful, you will adjust. We are put on this world with the ability to adapt. If I can do it, TRUST ME. You can too. All it takes is an open mind, and some positive thinking. Do not do what I did, and go into high school with the mindset of it sucking. If you do, it probably will.

3. Meet New People

This is one of the few things I did right throughout my experience at EPHS. Do not only talk to your small group of 5 friends because I promise when you get to college, it’s going to be harder than you think. Take the time to get to know people in your classes, and who you sit next to. There are so many interesting individuals around us, yet we are so oblivious to the fact that their there sometimes. Some of my greatest friends were made my freshman year, and I wouldn’t change it in a second. Get out of your bubble, and comfort zone. Learn how to communicate.

4. Get to know your teachers.

This is huge, and one of my favorite parts of high school. Especially at Eden Prairie, most of the teachers are more influential, and passionate than anyone you’ll ever meet. Listen and respect them. Please take the time to say thank you, and actually appreciate the time they spend teaching you. They are preparing you for your future and have the best of intentions. IF you actually try to develop a relationship…what some would even call a friendship, it is EXTREMELY beneficial. When you need a recommendation, they’ll be there. When you have an extremely hard time taking a test, they might even be there too.

5. Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment.

High school is a bumpy road for most, if not all people. Things happen and it will suck. Remember to not let that guide you down the wrong road. We’re all changing, growing, and teenagers. There are hormones and emotions that will always be more than we can handle. Try your best to. Remember your morals, and what you stand for as a person. Don’t lose the things you value the most.

6. Your first boyfriend or girlfriend. 

Some of you will date, and most of you will have your first heartbreak too. High school is when things begin to get a little more serious than they used to back in eighth grade. The best quote I have ever heard about love is, “it shouldn’t make you any less of who you are”. If you in any way feel like your sacrificing who you are, and what you love to do. Just drop it. We’re too young anyways, and there’s so much more time to get involved with stuff like that. I don’t blame whoever does because I do understand. I am, and always have been a romantic who lives in romantic comedies, and love stories. When I fall, it’s hard. It’s just really important to remember, it’s not the end of the world when you’re sixteen years old and lose the first guy you loved. It’s just a lesson to be learned.

7. We all mess up sometimes.

Sometimes, our emotions do end up clouding our judgment. If you ask 90% of high schoolers if they’ve done something they regret within the past year, they will say yes. Maybe you’ll lose a friend, or respect, whatever it is, you will get through it. BUT, only if you decide to have the strength to. Don’t turn to substances, or random hook ups, or whatever society taught us is the newly accepted way of pushing away our feelings. Instead, cry a little, or a lot. Even be a hermit for awhile, and then decide to move on.

8. GRADES MATTER! 

Hopefully you know this. I have always known this, but for some reason, freshman year I had a different perspective of what a good grade was. I’m not a genius, and I don’t get straight A’s. For all of you who do, praise God every morning you wake up. I wish with all my heart that I had that security in my life. For those of you who don’t, remember to try your hardest. Think of working hard and times it by 10. Do that, but also don’t be too hard on yourself. But do not be stupid and decide to not try. Your future is in YOUR hands, and you have the ability to make it all you wished it to be.

9. Distractions

In high school, whether it’s drama, or twitter, you will get distracted. Avoid those distractions at all costs. Run from them. They are a waste of time, and take chunks out of your once beautiful GPA. You start with a 4.0, do not lose it out of stupidity. I BEG of you.

10. Take advantage of opportunities.

Do not, do not, DO NOT miss out on them. Join clubs, try out for sports, do whatever your heart desires. Not only do they look good on college apps, but they also make you feel better about yourself. A good GPA is great, but what’s even better is having extra curricular’s on top of it. These clubs may seem silly now, but they may end up being one of your biggest passions. I started volunteering through the high school, and I can honestly say it’s something that I will spend doing for a very, very long time. Try new things, and enjoy them.

After 10 of my biggest lessons, I’ll leave saying one thing. High school is exactly what you make it to be. It’s all up to you.

Sincerely,

girl who is dreading the future

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