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No matter where you study, high school is a big step in your educational career. You’re given more freedom and opportunities as a student, but it’s also a time to explore personal interests and build crucial relationships that will follow you even after you graduate. With the excitement that comes with any fresh beginning, also comes nervousness and anxiety. If you’re someone that is even the slightest bit nervous or anxious about your first day, adhere to the 5 following tips to ensure that you not only survive, but also prosper in your first year:

  1. Don’t Close Yourself Off

High school brings together many different students from numerous middle schools. Because you will be meeting countless number of new people, it’s important to venture out of your comfort zone and try different activities with different people. You may be surprised to find that you have stronger interests in activities that you had never even thought to partake in during middle school. If your environment is changing, it’s never a bad idea to soak in as much of the new experiences, people and activities as you can.

  1. Discover your niche.

Once you find your passion, dive deep! Focusing in on one thing is a great way to build strong friendships and develop your skills. Many students find that some of their best high school memories came from the time they devoted to only one or two particular clubs or sports, as opposed to multiple. The reason for this is very simple: working and practicing with the same group of people on a regular basis build a sense of community and belonging over time. You will make much more meaningful friendships and relationships with mentors doing this, than if you were to spread yourself too thin over multiple activities. This is something many students make the mistake of not doing in high school because they think it will impress their peers or colleges more, however this is only misguided thinking. Almost all colleges universally, prefer quality of high school experience over quantity of experience. And where peers are concerned, you should remember that winning a high school popularity contest is not something that will help you in your future academic or career endeavors.

  1. Don’t stress, but don’t slack.

Being in high school, you will hear stories from upperclassmen or recent graduates telling you that freshmen year doesn’t matter. While it’s certainly true that colleges aren’t as critical of your freshman year as they are of the next 3 years of high school, freshmen year is certainly nothing to take for granted. If in adjusting yourself to the advanced pace and rigor of high school, you end up getting your first C or D, know that it’s totally okay as long as you learn from your mistakes and quickly pick yourself back up. Even if this year is less important, it is still the foundation for the next three. Use this time to learn from your errors and figure out how to fix your study habits or routine before you get into your sophomore year. Being too lenient on yourself and slacking in this first year is a great way to make very bad habits that could ruin your future GPA.

  1. Anticipate the need to change.

High school and middle school are two complete different worlds. Don’t make the mistake of walking into your freshman year thinking that you’ll be able to continue doing what you did in middle school and still achieve success. High school is a lot more demanding than middle school; both academically and emotionally. Whether it’s in how you manage your social/personal life or your academic life, know that you will inevitably have to make changes to either fight the social pressures of high school or the academic pressures.  Many students actively search out counselors to talk to in order to manage their emotions/thoughts or  completely reproach their organizational and studying methods to improve what they find they start struggling with.

  1. Introduce yourself.

Every freshman is just as new to the scene as you are. You won’t be the only person that feels like they’re alone in a crowd. Even if you don’t know someone, don’t be afraid to help/take help from others or simply strike up a conversation about the class you both have. If someone is trying to find a class you had earlier in the day, show them the way. If someone is sitting alone, ask if you can join them. These small gestures are not only kind, but also a great way to make friends. You’ll be in high school for the next 4 years of your life so don’t be shy in being proactive about finding people to share the journey with!

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