What I Wish I'd Known As A Freshman
Freshmen of the world, rejoice: CaptainMorganaMarie is here to help.—Sparkitors
Every once in a while, this little voice in my head goes “Oh, my God. I’m a senior! I’m going to college next year! I’ll vote in the next election! I am going to be a legal adult soon!” Being a senior in high school feels much different than being a freshman, a change that is both welcome and saddening. I feel as though my very first day of high school was only a couple weeks ago, and yet it seems like I’ve been here my whole life.
As a senior, a lot of things are changing. I’m looking more into future careers, visiting colleges, wondering what I’m going to do for the rest of my life; and as I’m looking back at my freshman year, I can’t help but wish someone had given me some choice advice. So in order to prevent a vicious cycle, I’ve listed some things I wish seniors had told me my freshman year of high school:
ACT, SAT, ASAP. These little acronyms seem a long way off when you’re an itty, bitty freshman, but believe me, they’re super-important. Many colleges only admit students with a minimum score of 24 on their ACT. SAT scores, as well as those from the ACT, can determine how much you can receive in scholarships. As a senior looking at very nice, but very expensive colleges, I wish I’d taken the ACT a couple more times. The fee is definitely worth paying if it gets you automatic admission to your college of choice.
My advice: Study. Pay attention in class. Believe it or not, the stuff they’re teaching you is actually relevant. If you have any desire whatsoever to go to college, take the ACT or SAT (although I personally recommend the ACT; the SAT is very vocabulary-intensive).
GPA. Another acronym that is oh-so-important to colleges, and prospective employers, is your Grade Point Average. In the first year of high school, this little number doesn’t matter much to universities, but getting in the habit of checking your grades and keeping the number up will pay off in your junior year, when colleges start looking. The higher your GPA, the better your chances.
My advice: Get on Parent Portal often and check with teachers for missing assignments. It may get tedious looking for that one worksheet in the black hole that was once your backpack, but the habit is very important. Your teachers aren’t going look for it for you.
Friends. The friends you make in high school shape your life. They help you make the choices that lead you to better, or worse, things. And, more often than not, when someone leaves a place and has to make friends all over again, he/she is attracted to the same types of people. Make sure they’re the kind of people you want to chill with for the rest of your life.
My advice: Take a look at your friends. Are they the kind of people you would introduce to your parents? Grandparents? Would you want to be seen in public with them? Would they ever get you arrested or leave you in a ditch?
Money. My upperclassmen friends would always tell me “Don’t get a job, they suck.” But I wish I hadn’t listened to that bit of advice. If I’d gotten a job and saved all the money I’d made, I would have a lot more money for college, gas, a new iPod, etc. (college being the most important of these, of course). Money often becomes a huge factor in choosing a college when one becomes a senior.
My advice: Save. Ask your parents to open a savings account for college if they haven’t already. Get a job, no matter how small the paycheck, and try to save at least half of it.
Breathe. The rest of your life is not, in fact, determined by your success in high school. Grades are important and graduating is a major goal, but you’re still a teenager.
My advice: Act responsibly, but have fun. Relax and breathe. Time in high school passes more quickly than you’d think.
Great advice! What other tips would you pass along?
Related post: How To Be A Freshman