Ok first off, deep breath. We’re gonna be ok. Take it from me; an old fart high school senior who’s introverted and started out with hardly any confidence. You’ll be fine <3
I'll be honest, high school is terrifying- at first. So is any new and strange place you go to in life, just like college is for me right now! But like anything that’s new at first, you’ll get the hang of it. You’ll know that school on the back of your hand sooner than you know it. It’s big and maze like in the beginning, but soon you’ll know the general areas, and you can always ask a teacher for help finding a specific location. Here’s some starter tips and advice to help ease your pre-high-school anxiety
-Find out if your high school has a 9th grade/freshman jumpstart program.
This usually takes place before school starts and is like an orientation for newbies to get a feel for the school, figure out their schedules, get some pep talks about high school, etc. It’s a really nice way to get familiar with what seems like a building the size of Russia, and also reassure you that the school knows you’re new, and will do what it can to help you out.
-Go through your schedule ahead of time.
Most schools should have an ‘open house’ where all students get their pictures taken/get their schedules/planners/donate money for technology department, etc. This is also an ideal time to run through your schedule, and if your school is open you can run through it anytime before school as well. Don’t worry too much about side-passage ways and the fastest routes- just focus on getting to your classes the easiest way and you’ll find shortcuts later on :)
-Your teachers will probably not mark you tardy on the first day.
You’re a freshman in high school in a big new place, it’d be ridiculous for your teacher to mark you late on the very first day. In fact, most teachers don’t mark any students tardy on the very first day of school, so you’ll be just fine even if you get lost. There should be hall monitors or just teachers around you can help you find a specific classroom if you lose you’re way, and if worst comes to worst, you can ask the main office.
-Making friends... is a tricky one.
I’m a hard-wired introvert and was pretty shy in the beginning of high school. So if you’re like me, great! Except, I personally didn’t make many connections. However, there are ways to increase your chances. Joining clubs/electives you’re interested in is a great way to meet people with similar interests. And throughout high school you’ll notice people who’ve shown up in your classes over the semesters and might start a connection with them! Don’t stress too much on making friends your first year, most happen after that anyway :) And sometimes, it might just be too difficult to really bond with anybody and I completely understand. That’s basically how I rolled through my 4 years and its really tough, especially with the social pressure of school dances (which are great until you’re sad you don’t have a date, and even more sad you don’t have friends to go with.)
Best I can say is you are not alone. Everyone's trying to figure themselves out in this weird 'I'm not a child but I'm not an adult what am I' phase, including you. You’re learning who you are and you don’t need other people to decide that for you. You will meet so many people in your life time, your social life in these short 4 years does not define you.
-Don't be afraid of change.
If theres one piece of advice I wish I had received back in 9th grade, it’d be this. I took all the honors classes thinking it would be similar to middle school, and didn’t think much when my school said these would be challenging courses. I had no free time, I was super stressed- it was awful. Even though my mom told me I should drop down to a regular course, I would freak out on her because I was still new to this school and the idea of change already was terrifying to me. I pushed through and made it with A’s and B’s, but then promptly isolated myself from friends and family just so I could make up for lost time with my writing. I went into complete hermit mode, started festering an unhealthy dislike for people, and suspect I have some form of anxiety/stress disorder from being constantly overwhelmed.
I’ve learned from this and my second year I dropped out of an AP course down to a regular one and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Changes like that can be terrifying and screw up the order you’ve been trying to handle, but sometimes it has to be done just so you can stay healthy and sane. Here’s a way of dealing with it that my brother told me: Don’t think about the anxiety you feel now and all the what ifs and what can go wrong- focus on how *good* you’re going to feel when its over, when its all worked out, when you successfully got through that bump in the road. It’ll make getting through it a whole lot easier :)
-Go in with like, medium expectations.
High school will probably not be "the best years of your life", but that doesn’t mean it’ll be the worst either. You could say I had a dog awful time there, but I also was exposed to experiences that lead to great opportunities and developed me into a more confident person. Let your expectations be high enough that you don’t dread it, but low enough that you’re not super disappointed. High school will be a character building experience.
I hope some of this helps, and if you guys have any questions/concerns about the weird ways of public high school, feel free to message me or other S2S mentors anytime (and/or share your experiences/advice below!) High school seems scary and weird, but us who have been through it can ressure you, you will make it <3
Good luck, future freshmen- you’re gonna be just fine ;)
Writing and Drawings done by Katharine