What I wish I knew

Without a second thought, I always say that my freshman year was my best year of high school (Disclaimer: senior year will easily be better).

written by: Boot Bullwinkle, Lucy Oyer, Ellen Lee

 

 

Freshman:

Without a second thought, I always say that my freshman year was my best year of high school (Disclaimer: senior year will easily be better). I started for the varsity soccer team. I had the best classes. I had a wonderful relationship, and I made the best of friendships. I won’t dabble too much on the golden years, because it’s not my memories that matter—as a freshman, you have to make your own memories.
Let’s take a few steps in your shoes, freshman reader. You’ve just escaped the roughest point of childhood—there is no one yelling at you to, “MOVE IT, MOVE IT,” before the bell even finishes ringing. Your friend’s mom will no longer be at the dances ensuring that you dance no closer than 12 inches with that girl you’ve been awkwardly staring at in history for the past semester. There is no yard duty enforcing the finger tip rule with your shorts, and you’re allowed to leave campus whenever you want.
But don’t get too excited, champ. Put your oversized backpack back on and pick up your lunch box—high school still has rules. You’re going to school with students who are three years older than you. Some of them drive. Some of them drink, and some of them smoke. It does happen. High school is (supposed to be) preparing you to be an adult, and thus you should act as such. You should get to class on time (10 tardies in P.E. and you’ll be retaking the class, rebel). You shouldn’t have your palms on the ground when you’re dancing, and your butt cheeks shouldn’t be peeking out of the bottom of your shorts (for god sakes, you’re 14). You may be 14, but you’re now being trusted with a lot more responsibility. Along with all the excitement of your classes and all the new people you’re meeting, Homecoming is also right around the corner. Everyone has probably already tried to thrust that excitement on to you, but you’ve most likely decided that it’s  better to watch from a distance (I certainly did).
It’s important that you try everything that you can. Finding your passion can be what makes or breaks your high school experience. Whether it’s a sport, a club or an extracurricular, you’ll need an outside activity besides school to complete your freshman year experience.
You, freshman reader, are about to dive into the most exciting four years of your life. You and your classmates have embarked upon a path that will have many pit stops and turns along the way. You’ll get help along the way, but this year is yours to own. Make your freshman year.

 

Sophomore:

Freshman year—everything and everyone is new, exciting and intimidating all at the same time. Junior year means tons of work, studying for the SAT and AP classes. Senior year brings college applicationss followed by freedom and a wonderful sense of complete superiority. So what then defines sophomore year? The PLAN test really isn’t much to get excited about and your class color is lime green so homecoming isn’t too great either. You’re no longer the complete high school newbie, but you’re also not quite an upperclassman. It’s easy to cast aside the entire year as just an awkward transition period where you are comfortable yet powerless. But perhaps the greatest perk about sophomore year is its deceitful irrelevance.
It’s easiest to live up to expectations that do not really exist and sophomore year gives you just such an opportunity. People don’t pay much attention to sophomores, you’re not being judged as lame freshmen or looked up to as big upperclassmen, so you have nothing to lose and it’s the perfect time to try out some new things. Why not try a few clubs or perhaps a new sport? It’ll be awhile before you have this much freedom again so I suggest you take advantage of it. With that said there are a few things you should be mindful of.
First of all, as a sophomore, you are expected to be able to figure things out more independently and the academic coddling you may have grown so accustomed to will be generally gone. This is a good thing because it will allow you to mature, but at first it can be a bit discouraging. Your teachers do care about you though and if you make the extra effort to seek out their help, they will be more than happy to assist. Also, you’d be surprised what a helpful resource your classmates can be. If you don’t know anyone in your classes, make friends fast! They are quite possibly the best assets when it’s 1:00 a.m. the night before a huge test and you seem to have forgotten everything you have ever learned in school since the third grade. (Not that that’s ever happened to me… ;))
I would also like to mention that if you are one of the sophomores lucky enough to get your license and a vehicle before the end of the year, congratulations! However please bear in mind that this does not make you infinitely superior to everyone in the entire world and you should not take this opportunity to show us how fast you can go in a crowded parking lot because, to be honest, 99 percent of the world is thoroughly uninterested.
Anyways, I would never claim to be a real expert on an entire year of your life so with that I just wish you the very best of luck. Take advantage of your sophomore year, it’s the perfect time to try new things and make mistakes, because things are about to get pretty serious school-wise. Enjoy!

 

Junior:

Rumor has it that junior year is the hardest year of all. From my three years of high school, that rumor has proved to be true. The long and dreadful list of acronyms: AP, SAT, ACT, etc. are practically mailed to your home both manually and electronically, forcing you to accept the importance of this upcoming year. But fear not, because there are several things you can do to opt out of this foreboding road.
First, wipe the myth that your social life ends the day your junior year begins out of your head because that’s completely untrue. Let’s be honest, you CANNOT study 20+ hours a weekend efficiently so be smart with your weekend. Outside of your work sessions spend time doing things you enjoy, whether it be hanging with friends, getting buff, Instagram-ing sick pics, and other random activities that you desire, although there aren’t more to life than those listed, right?
Second, Take your standardized tests ASAP. I made the mistake of holding off all of my standardized tests till my second semester and, boy, did I pay for that decision. With my first SAT in March and my last in June, it got to a point where I had an SAT one week, an ACT two weeks later, SAT II Subjects a few weeks after and my second SAT right afterwards, not to mention three AP tests socking me in the stomach simultaneously. It took a lot of percipience to study for each test individually let alone to understand my schedule. Even if you are planning to take the SAT I or ACT second semester, try your best to get a few subject tests out of the way first semester. Taking your tests in a timely manner will allow you sufficient time to study for the next one step at a time.
Third, only take classes that you are truly interested in learning more about. Don’t take AP so-and-so because your sister’s best friend’s cousin’s older brother said it was an easy A. Truth is, no AP is an easy A and if you are enrolled in a course you don’t care for, your year will be filled with tedious, abstruse material that will make you despise the subject.  And for those of you that can, take a prep. Not having a prep my entire junior year made me feel dumber than I felt the first time I got my SAT scores in the mail. It’s almost impossible to excel in five different courses each day at a rigorous level, so let your mind go on cruise control for 58 minutes four days a week and reward yourself for the four to five hours that you have been painstakingly working at your utmost best.
Fourth, remember that junior year is an entire 365 days of your life and you should live each as your last. Don’t get sucked into the whole “this is the most important year of my life” tornado, because it really isn’t. It’s not worth sacrificing ALL of your time and happiness in hopes of getting a few high numbers on a few tests. But it’s worth trying your best, so prioritize the mixture of things that are important to you along with your studies. Toss them in a blender with and have a splendiferous junior year.

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