Seven Things You Should Know as a Freshman


Sophie Feinberg

Seniors Jean Valverde, Steven Teranciel, Claire Shillington, Camila Lupi and Ali Band think back on their early high school years.

Sophie Feinberg, Editor

Graduates often look back at their high school years as some of their best. However, many people have regrets or wish they had learned something before it was too late. These tips will help guide you through the next four years of growth, learning and discovery.

1. Take risks!

Starting school in a new place can be scary and overwhelming, especially in a school as expansive as Gables. Freshmen are often hesitant to join a club or sport because they fear commitment. However, joining an extracurricular can help you find a group of friends with similar interests.

“At the start of my high school experience, I didn’t really love Gables until I actually started getting involved in activities around school…Each year I got more involved and now I can say that I have established leadership positions that are really fun because I stuck with them,” senior Claire Shillington said.

Colleges often look for quality rather than quantity when considering your participation in school activities. Being a part of a club or sport from the beginning will give you a better chance of being on the board or becoming the captain. It will also give you the opportunity to grow as a club member or athlete.

2. Grades don’t define you!

To many students, one bad grade is devastating. Know that you are more than a letter grade. This does not mean to disregard your academic performance, but you should realize that you are human and can make mistakes. One low grade will not ruin your reputation or grade point average (GPA).

3. Limit stress!

Unfortunately, stress and school seem to share a close bond. Learn that stressing about school won’t make it any better. Though it may be hard at times, take a step back and relax. The assignment or test grade that matters to you so much today won’t matter five years from now. Set a time each day to unwind; read a book, watch some TV, or do some yoga to relax. You may even work better and more efficiently after you’ve had the chance to recuperate.

4. Sleep!

A good night’s sleep is important for health and school performance; ironically, many students sacrifice sleep for schoolwork. While it may seem important to finish that assignment or spend an extra hour studying, waking up and studying the next day might be better. Once you’re sleepy, you don’t think straight and the things you’re trying desperately to learn for your test are less likely to stick in your brain.

While a few late nights may be necessary, learn not to make a habit of staying up past midnight. Teens should be getting at least eight to nine hours of sleep. While that may seem impossible, try your best to get more than five hours of sleep each night, even if that means sacrificing a homework grade.

5. Balance is key!

Sleep deprivation and stress can be lessened by learning to balance your time. While school is important, it is also important not to let it consume you. By balancing your workload and working on time management, you should have time for enjoyment and relaxation. High school is about making memories. Go to Homecoming, football games and spend time with your friends. Balance school and fun.

6. Plan, plan, plan!

Procrastination is a problem for all students. Invest in an agenda where you can write down your assignments, deadlines and other commitments. Work on big assignments for 20 minutes each day rather than letting it all pile up to the night before the deadline. It is easy to forget to do things, so write everything down and make lists of what you need to do each day.

Also keep track of your community service hours; plan when you are volunteering and when you will turn the hours in. Keep standardized testing as well as college scholarships and applications in mind. Start thinking about what you would like to take up as a career and be aware of the tedious steps required to achieve your goals.

“It is crucial that students begin planning for college as soon as they get to high school…Even in 9th grade, grades are critical. Students should also plan what courses they will take throughout high school and challenge themselves with higher level classes…Also, students and parents need to plan financially for college,” College Assistance Program (CAP) Adviser Mrs. Stack said.

7. Be yourself!

One of the most crucial things to remember is to be yourself. Be your own person in high school rather than doing what everyone else is. Instead of joining a club or selecting a class because your friend is, choose an option that fits your passions. If you spend your years in high school doing things only because your friends do, you may regret missing out on something you would have loved doing. High school is about growing into the person you want to be. Staying true to yourself and to your beliefs is a good way to enjoy your time in high school without regrets.

These are the seven things freshmen should know. High school will have its ups and its downs. You will laugh, cry, be angry, sad, aggravated and much more, but these years will be the years you remember most. Though many things seem so important now, years later, they won’t be. What is important is how you felt and how fondly you look back at your memories. Hopefully, these seven tips will help make your high school years some of the best you will ever have.