Serena is a 17-year-old from New York City. She occupies her time by reading, laughing, and chasing her dreams. She hopes to be a writer someday.
The first year of high school can seem intimidating. Incoming freshmen worry about making friends, doing well in their classes, balancing their academic lives with their social lives, handling multiple homework assignments…the list of worries go on and on. Here are some tips for not only freshmen but also parents of freshmen on how to get the best high school experience:
For Freshmen Students: Making friends is probably the greatest concern of yours during the first couple of months of high school. My advice to you is to be active! Joining clubs is a great way to meet a plethora of the student body. You will be able to meet freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors who share the same interests as you do (and what better people to befriend than those with similar interests as you?). If you are an athletic type, or else just willing to try out a sport and see how it goes, then trying out for a team will be an advantage to you. A sports team becomes your family for a few months, and long after the season is over, you will likely still be friends with your teammates. Finally, high school requires you to step out of your shell. Exploring life as an extrovert will allow others to see you as someone who is open-minded and comfortable around others. A friendly disposition is all you need to befriend fellow classmates. And remember: all of the other freshmen in your school are just as nervous as your are, and just as open to meeting new people and making new friends!
For Parents of Freshmen: Your once-precocious child is an independent teenager now, embarking on a completely new experience. As a parent, your most important role is to be supportive of your teenager. Encourage your teen to try new things, don’t be too harsh if you learn about one bad test grade, be there when your teen needs you and know when to take a step back and allow your teen some breathing space. Also, try to allow your teen to be fully responsible when it comes to high school. Do not constantly remind your teen about that project that’s due next week, or about that club meeting on Wednesday; in high school, teens need to understand the importance of balancing their time and being responsible to handle their own homework and agendas. If your teen leaves that project until the night before and ends up getting only an hour of sleep, or if your teen forgets about that meeting on Wednesday, then simply let it be. It’s up to your teen to keep track of everything that is going on. You have to make a mistake before you can learn from it!
Photo: Susan NYC from Flickr