As a newly-graduated middle school student, you’re now ready to enter into another strange world: high school.
High school is an extremely different experience from middle school. It can be intimidating, and freshmen always find themselves at least a little confused.
Feeling confused, worried, and anxious as a freshman is extremely normal, and I can assure you that most people around you feel the same! At the same time, there are always steps you could take to minimize these feelings.
Here are 10 mistakes that freshmen make in high school and how you can avoid them! With these tips, you’ll be able to overcome freshman anxiety in no time and succeed in high school.
Being Afraid to Interact With Upperclassmen
Upperclassmen can look scary. And it’s totally true that you should avoid messing with them, as they are older than you and will generally know better than you.
But if you’re in a class, club, band, or another type of group with upperclassmen, don’t be shy to make friends! Don’t expect that they’ll become your “best friend,” but you can rely on them to be a person of great high school-related tips.
Upperclassmen can give great advice and help when you need it; after all, they are more experienced than you! Being friends with them can be helpful as you advance through the grades and need advice with classes or certain situations.
Not Joining Clubs
Clubs are super important for finding friends and interests. As I mentioned in both of my College Prep Guides for underclassmen and upperclassmen, clubs are a quick and fun way to identify your interests and maximize your time in high school.
Some freshmen never even think of joining clubs during the school year. But there are indeed many benefits to joining clubs. Here are a few of the main benefits of joining a club:
- Expand your social circle
- Hone your skills
- Gain professional experience
- Possibly become an officer in the future
Related Post: Complete College Prep Checklist For Underclassmen
Thinking Grades Don’t Matter
There are rumors across high schools that colleges don’t look at freshman-year grades.
I’m not sure how much of that is true, but I do know that every year counts in your cumulative GPA, which is what most colleges look at when you apply.
In other words, your grades do matter. If you do well in this year’s classes and get all A’s, that could lessen the pressure in the following years to bring your GPA up.
Meanwhile, if you flunk all of your classes this year, you’re going to have a much harder job waiting for you in the rest of your high school career.
Luckily, your classes should be relatively easy in freshman year. They will get progressively more difficult as you get to senior year, but you would’ve gained more experience and knowledge on the way to help you.
Not Managing Their Time
Especially if you do sports of some kind, time is key.
Sports practices can take up so much time. This means that you have to manage your time well in order to finish all your tasks on time.
If you start socializing after school, watching Netflix after dinner, and scrolling through TikTok until bed, you’re not going to get much done.
Instead, do the following:
- Set reminders/timers on your phone to start working and take breaks at reasonable intervals.
- Turn off social media notifications on your phone.
- Use planners to make sure you’re not missing assignments.
If you’ve read some of my posts before, you know how much I absolutely love this Productivity Journal. While so many planners out there are fancy and cute, they never really serve their purpose: allow me to plan and prioritize my tasks. I don’t really need motivational quotes every 2 pages. I need somewhere to plan out my daily activities so I can be productive!
This was where the Productivity Journal came in. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this planner increased my productivity by at least 150%. Unlike the planners you might see at Walmart, this planner lets you prioritize tasks, set long-term and short-term goals, time block your day, and more.
If you want to become a highly productive and organized student this year, you need a quality planner. And you really can’t go wrong with this one!
Socializing Too Much
While socializing is important, especially as a growing teenager, you should not sacrifice your grades for a “richer” social life.
Your real friends will always be there, even if you don’t go to the mall with them once in a while. But if you keep missing homework, your grade isn’t going to keep itself up.
This means making sure you finish your homework before going out, skipping the weekly partying, etc. A planner could help tremendously, as you could plan out each day, along with when you can take breaks and have a fun, social day.
Trying To Keep All Their Friends
Everyone changes in high school and their friend groups will change with them. You may lose some friends this year, and that’s okay. In the process, you’ll gain new friends and find who your true friends are.
However, if you try to keep all your friends by forcing yourself to please them and basically cause yourself to be unhappy, that’s not okay.
High school isn’t about having the greatest number of friends, so don’t worry too much about your friendships! High school is all about finding your interests, preparing for the future, and maximizing the present. Have fun with your friends, and don’t worry too much about a social circle.
Caring Too Much About How They Look
Trust me, no one really notices how you look every day. It’s a casual “tradition” to dress nicely on the first day of school, but other than that, you can wear sweats 3 days a week and no one will care.
There is absolutely no need to buy new clothes every month. There is also no need to wear a skirt and blouse in the middle of December just because it looks cute.
Comfort over everything, my friend. Focus on your ability to succeed in class and be comfortable, instead of dressing up to impress someone (other than yourself).
Not Making Use Of Provided Resources
It might seem self-explanatory, but many students don’t notice or take advantage of the resources they have. For example,
- School or public libraries
- Assigned planners
- School-bought educational subscriptions
- Educational YouTube channels
The planner should be self-explanatory. Write your homework down in it so you won’t forget about it later.
The school library is a powerful resource. Other than the fact that it has a ton of books in it, the library is a great environment for studying. When school was in session, I went there every day after school to finish my homework (highly recommend).
Most libraries also have printers that students can use for free, so if you don’t have a working printer at home, check out the library!
In addition, many school districts purchase subscriptions for their teachers and students to use. If you’re struggling in a subject, one of these subscriptions may help (check with your teacher and library!).
Lastly, make use of all the free content on YouTube! There are many educational channels on the platform, with help for almost any subject. Check out this post: 8 Best YouTube Channels For Students.
Not Trying To Establish Friendships With Teachers
Teachers can be great sources of advice and help if you’re willing to make friends with them! They can give you extra help after class, such as explaining something you don’t understand or helping you improve something you’re unsure of.
And don’t forget about college applications! If a teacher took a special liking to you, they could write a beautiful recommendation letter for you! You can get more information about this in my College Prep Guide!
Not Asking For Help
It’s not embarrassing or shameful to ask for help, whether it’s from upperclassmen, teachers, or peers around you. Even if you feel self-conscious asking the question, not many people are mean enough to make you feel bad about it.
Extending yourself out to others is huge in high school. Along with getting your questions answered, you also have a chance to maybe make a new friend!
So don’t be shy, ask the question!
Freshman year can be hard, but you’re not a freshman forever! And with these 10 tips and tricks, freshman year will be a breeze!
With the high chances of school being remote this year, make sure to check out these related posts to thrive in online classes: