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Dear Incoming Freshman

Editorial By Tina Vlamis

Dear incoming Freshman,
Presumably, the only two pieces of advice you have gotten about high school are:
1. Don’t stop and talk in the middle of the hall.
2. Don’t sit at the round tables.

Don’t get me wrong- those are two very important pieces of advice. Freshmen year is a turbulent year; however, that requires a little more advice than two small suggestions.

Last year when I was entering my freshman year, I would not have responded well to the implication that there is a huge difference between the person you are before and after ninth grade. I do stand by that statement even at the risk of sounding like a pretentious sophomore. You might be smarter than me, you are probably more organized than me, but some extra advice can’t hurt, right? Which leads me to the first piece of advice:

Don’t judge people who have been in high school longer than you

There are two reasons you should not scoff at a senior, clad in dark circles and sweatpants, using a study hall to finish an essay that is due the next block. One, that will most likely be you in three years (if not sooner). Two, that senior probably has more than enough deadlines to keep track of, in addition to the many responsibilities that are of more relevance than their appearance. Speaking of appearances…

There are SO many more things to worry about than your appearance

Do yourself a huge favor and don’t worry if you show up to school looking exhausted or ragged from time to time. Stop worrying about what you look like, and sleep in that extra fifteen minutes once in a while.

Use your time wisely

An hour of goofing off during study hall does not seem like a lot until you are exhausted, late at night, and still have an hour of homework to do. Also, any time teachers give you during class to work on a project or assignment is an absolute blessing that you should take full advantage of. Nothing in the world makes you resent yourself more than sitting with your unfinished project hours before it is due, knowing you could have had quality, completed work in front of you if you had taken advantage of class time.


Complete every project to the best of your ability

Well-done projects can have a greatly positive impact on your average. If you do not test well in a subject, then prepare to make whatever project you have to do for that subject your new top priority. Before my freshmen year, I never thought the words “Geometry Project” would hold such a special place in my heart.


PowerSchool and Schoology don’t have to be the only two school related apps on your phone

What? Downloading more than two apps for school? You don’t have to explain your iPhone storage qualms to me; I totally get that downloading multiple apps seems stressful. That being said, some wonderful apps took a considerable amount of stress off of my freshmen year. The app that was my guiding light through freshmen year is the app ‘Memorize Anything’, an app that allows you to hear the same recording of yourself on repeat. The night before a test, I would record myself stating definitions and then the next morning on the bus, I could hear everything repeated back to me. This method is far more preferable to me than staying up all night studying.


Stop studying, and go to bed

Once it gets to the point where you lose concentration and your eyes start to droop, close your books and your eyes. If you come into school the next morning, informing everyone you pulled an all-nighter to study, you will not be given a badge for your endurance. Rather, someone will probably tell you that pulling an all-nighter to study is about as effective as falling asleep on your textbooks. Studying late at night is not effective if you are constantly fighting your natural instincts to go to bed, and taking a test while sleep deprived is quite possibly one of the worst experiences you could set yourself up for. All of this advice goes double for taking finals or midterms, when you definitely do not want to be lacking any hours of rest


Don’t freak out about midterms and finals

Should you study? Yes. Should you get so worried about your exams that you cannot even focus on studying? No, you should not.

Save every assignment you do on your Schoology account

Adding a document to Schoology takes almost no time, and it is a complete life-saver. If you forget your printed out copy at home or find out in school that day that you completely messed up a part of your essay, having the extra copy on Schoology is a complete relief.


Do what you like and like what you do

If you like a sport, then try out for it. Don’t worry if your friends are not interested in the sport, don’t feel the need to have your entire friend group with you at tryouts. If you end up making the team, you form a set of new friendships with people who share your interests. Joining sports or clubs that you genuinely like is fantastic because it gives you the opportunity to get close with people you otherwise may not have interacted with. In the beginning of the school year, you may be overwhelmed with the increased workload, but try not to let that interfere with what you sign up for. Having a sport practice or club meeting after school helps me focus on my schoolwork more and procrastinate less. Not to mention, there is nothing like being involved in something you love with great people to aid in relieving any stress about school work you have.


Every change you make is great, if it is your choice

You may or may not change drastically over the duration of your freshmen year. Either is okay, but make sure that you don’t chose either option because of others. You should never be scared to make a change to better yourself simply because of the fear that the change might separate you from your friends. On a similar note, when you make a change, make sure it is not made in the hopes it will impress an edgy friend, or an upperclassmen. Change at your own rate, for your own reasons.


You don’t look like a senior, and that is okay

Seniors are four years older than you. In the eyes of a new freshman, seniors seem as though they were born having their lives completely together. As the year progresses, you realize that they are just slightly older teenagers who also went through an awkward phase and found their way out. Trying to look like a senior is a bad idea, because it totally cheats you out of an awesome transformation picture your senior year.


No one will have the same freshmen year experience- just like no two people will have the same locker combination (that’s another tip- don’t give your locker combination to people whom you presume to have a knack for pranks.) Yet, hopefully, this advice will be applicable and helpful to any freshmen entering Woodland. At the very least, I hope it’s slightly more helpful than, “Don’t sit at the round tables.” (But seriously–don’t sit at the round tables).

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