Everything I Wish I Knew My Freshman Year

High school has been an absolute rollercoaster. As stressful as it can be, my friends and I will grow to miss it. Here is everything I’ve learned in the past four years.

Me and a friend were neck-and-neck going into the last 100 meters of a Cross Country race my freshman year. I actually broke a finger the day before starting high school… so that explains the cast on my right hand.

The past 4 years have been an absolute rollercoaster. The person I am today would be unrecognizable to freshman year me; not very much physically (I’ve grown no more than an inch since freshman year), but I have grown in many other ways. I’m proud of my contributions to the Track and Cross Country teams, the Lafayette band, and I’m proud of myself for maintaining my composure when times got tough.

I want to share what I’ve learned throughout the past four years. I want future students to know what it took me the past four years to learn. I will not be sharing what I’ve learned in class, in fact, that’s the only thing I’m not sharing. The order of my advice is in the order I learned it. I will start with the beginning of my freshman year and end with today, the last few days of my senior year.

One of the first things I learned as a high school student is that there is an optimal balance between school and your social life.

The Cross Country team decided to have an unofficial practice and we coincidentally ran into our coach while we were running!

My freshman year leaned in favor of my social life, while the years after leaned more toward school. This balance is not something that can be taught to you; you must learn it on your own through trial and error. I know it’s hard to say no to a night out with friends, but keep your priorities straight. It may be necessary to stay home and study for a big test coming up. After you ace the test, then go have fun with your friends. Reward yourself for your hard work. Getting good grades and having a social life are not mutually exclusive. Find that balance.

Toward the end of my freshman year, I learned not to get too involved in drama. It can be unavoidable at times, but there are definitely ways to minimize your involvement. Avoid talking negatively about people behind their back.

This was the day I went on a 100-mile bike ride to Richmond and back with some friends. It was incredibly painful as you might be able to imagine,

Assume everything you say will be heard by everybody, so be careful with your choice of words. Additionally, the world of drama can be an incredibly toxic environment. Drama is one of the easiest ways to lose friends. Fortunately for me, I’ve kept my involvement in drama to a minimum. As a result, there are very few people who I am genuinely on bad terms with.

Around the beginning of my sophomore year, I had a huge change in mentality. I wasn’t satisfied with my grades from the prior year. I decided from then on, I would essentially be the perfect student. I would study as long as it would take to fully master every topic covered in my class. I would ask questions about every single thing that didn’t make sense to me. On my own time, I would learn about other school-related topics that interested me. This reflected well on my grades.

This was the day I beat my Rubik’s Cube record. I still remember the date of both my old and new records! My 9.22 record was set May 5th, 2019 and the 8.28 was August 18th, 2021.

My advice here is to use what I call the “No BS Mentality”. Don’t come up with excuses for bad grades. If you perform poorly on a test or quiz, find out why that happened and correct it. Blaming your teacher for your bad grade or calling the test “hard” is called BS (which is not allowed in the No BS Mentality). Go the extra mile in your classes.

Avoid public displays of affection with your significant other. Please, just trust me on this.

As I’ve grown older, teachers have began to feel more like friends instead of baby-sitters. So, show them the same respect you expect from your friends. Just saying “have a good day” can go a long way for a teacher who’s under a lot of stress.

After school, I go to track and practice pole vault! Here, I’m trying to take full advantage of the bend so I get shot up as high as possible. My record as of 5/23/22 is 12 feet.

Be creative! Find things outside of school that distinguish you from your peers. For example, I competed in Rubik’s Cube competitions, was an all-state pole vaulter for the track team, and I’m currently making a documentary with a group of friends. This won’t only make you more appealing to colleges, but just experimenting and trying new things on its own can be a fun experience.

Finally, graduation day will come sooner than you think. Take high school one day at a time. As stressful as school can be at times, you will grow to miss it. Be grateful for your friends and the people in your classes who know how to make you laugh. Make plans with friends over the Summer. Enjoy every single day. The clock to graduation is ticking.