Tips for Freshmen: The Honest Version (2.0)


Charlotte Mandy, Editor

This article’s original form is one of last year’s, but a batch of new freshmen and (supposedly) an additional year of wisdom demands a new one.


Hello, freshmen. And others, who are–out of a selfless interest to help your fresh-faced friends, or just boredom–also reading this. At present, high school probably seems like a really long time, all four years of it staring you down (that’s somewhere around 4,000 hours of instruction), but I’ve got news for you that’s either good or bad, depending on how you look at it.


High school will be over soon.


Before you’re all old and know everything and have your cap and gown on, here’s a few tips to guide you through what probably aren’t going to be the absolute best years of your life, but will definitely be a formative, high-energy time that gets you ready for what’s next.

Sleep while you can. You think you’re sleep-deprived now? Close Youtube. Send your Snaps tomorrow. Your future self is begging you to get those hours of sleep in, if you want clear skin and any semblance of sanity in the months and years ahead.



Stop procrastinating. The only one that can do this is you. Four years later and I’m still doing it, but it’s definitely made my life a thousand times more stressful than it needs to be; procrastination just tanks your grades unnecessarily and makes it seem like you have a lot more hanging over you than you actually do.




Your teachers don’t bite. Ask them for extra help; schedule it ahead of time. There’s absolutely no shame in using your resources, and if you need things explained in a new way, that’s what extra help is for.




If you can, eat something in the morning. Unfortunately, even senior year hasn’t yet shown me the secret to transcending physical form. We all still need something with a bit more substance than coffee.




Get your required classes out of the way. Your guidance counselors are another resource. When you set up your schedules for the next few years, don’t leave anything for the last minute, least of all classes required to graduate. Ask your counselors what your options are if you aren’t sure. Be your own advocate, in that regard.




Go to school events. Uncool, you say? Yours truly is the epitome of uncool, so I can’t speak to that, but I’ve had a wonderful time at football games, dances, spirit activities, etc. If you’re going to remember stuff from high school, it’s often going to be what you did with your friends, and these are excellent opportunities to participate in a community (a mini slice of real life).




Make a big ol’ good vibes playlist for when life’s a dumpster fire. Sometimes things aren’t going to be a cake walk, and you’re going to need something to motivate you. If you don’t already have a playlist for this purpose, get on it.




Check out Quizlet. I’m surprised if you haven’t encountered it, but if you’re in a class with any kind of memorization and you consider yourself a visual learner or someone that learns by repetition, this website and app will carry you through.




Challenge yourself. You won’t grow otherwise, and you’ll get bored. Yeah, life will be easier, but a little bit of dedication goes a very long way towards setting you up for good things. I don’t have any fancy adages for this. Just be brave.



Start volunteering early. Whether you’re here for good grades or great parties (or both), good luck, there’s a lot of you. It takes someone with initiative and a generous nature, however, to go out there and actually help people, just to do it. 


Thank your parent(s). Not everyone’s got an adult guardian supporting them at home, but if you’re one of the fortunate people that does, thank them now and then for being invested in your life. If you don’t have someone supporting you, there’s people here at Shawnee who’d love to do that. Make a point of maintaining relationships with the teachers, coaches, counselors, (etc) that you get along with. There’s a lot of people in and out of this building that are invaluable sources of wisdom, wit, and a will to listen.





Do some things for fun, not just for college. If you’re someone who’s already stacking your schedule with honors and your extracurriculars with clubs for NHS, brilliant. You’re on your game. You’re going to get a lot out of what’s offered to you. Just remember to chill a little, and be your own person. Join a club that isn’t remotely advantageous for college. Take a fun elective here or there. It’s the person we make out of ourselves that matters, in terms of all that future prestige and application stuff. Make sure you like that person.



In the year ahead, to all the students and staff, good luck! (Although, in my experience, there’s no such thing.)