Kelsey is a crazy 17-year-old from Franklin, TN. She loves writing, acting, and hanging out with friends. Her favorite subject is English and she hopes to teach it herself when she gets older.
As a rising senior in high school, I recently have spent a lot of time thinking about the past few years, and all that they’ve taught me. When I was a freshman, I had a million expectations about what high school would be like. I thought I knew exactly who my friends would be, where I’d always hang out, and what extracurricular activities I’d stick with. Some of my expectations were right, but most turned out to be completely backwards. No one had taught me the unspoken truths of high school. There are probably a million, but I have narrowed down the list considerably. Below are seven things every new freshman ought to know:
1. Contrary to popular belief, cliques are allowed to intermingle. In my experience, such an event is never quite as catastrophic as the media would have us believe. I’ve seen everything from jocks joining the theatre club to musicians hanging with “nerds.”
2. It’s cool to be smart – that’s all I can say about this one.
3. Even if they don’t share them, most people you’ll meet in high school will respect high standards. Through all these past four years, I have chosen not to drink, smoke, or do drugs. And while some people ridicule me for my choices, others have quietly told me how much they look up to me for living like that.
4. It’s ok to be a floater. When I began my freshman year, I was determined to find my group. I thought, as most do at that age, that I was required to have a niche; one little hole, among all the cracks and crevices on the road of life, that I could call mine. I tried to slink into the shadows. Later I realized that the fun’s all in the exploration, the variety and different colors of the sunlight – not the monotony of shadows. So be the one kid who doesn’t have a single group. Be the one kid who has no fear of stepping into the sun, alone sometimes. You will learn quickly why that’s so much better than blending in with the rest of the group.
5. You will constantly be not only losing old friends but gaining new ones. People change. This should be no surprise. What might surprise you, though, is how quickly and unexpectedly they change – and how many people really do. I didn’t expect my friends to be the ones that changed. We’d said a million times that we’d always be friends. But halfway into my first year of high school, I realized that that was totally untrue. Yes, it may seem sad, but the good news is that you probably won’t find yourself missing them like you think you will. They have changed, and you probably have changed as well, and because of this it’s just inevitable that you will grow apart and find new friends who fit your new selves better.
6. Never trust a first impression, whether it’s of teachers, classmates, or anyone else. There’s always something buried, something you don’t know about a person. Don’t presume to be an expert on someone you’ve just met – they tend to prove you wrong, in some way, every time. You only have to give them a chance.
7. Don’t trust everything the media says about high school, or what movies and television make of the whole ordeal. The experience is unique for every teen, because high school is exactly what you make it.
(And I’d advise you to make it special.)