I am now a sophomore in high school. While my first year of high school happened virtually, I learned a lot about myself and the people around me. I want to share what I learned to hopefully serve as some advice to incoming high school freshmen.
Extra credit is awesome.
Extra credit adds up as the year goes on. I didn’t do extra credit my first semester, and I regretted it. It may suck to do it in the moment, but I greatly appreciated it later in the school year. If you have the time, do it.
Staying comfortable isn’t always the best.
Breakout rooms were uncomfortable. Joining new clubs was extremely uncomfortable. Meeting new people through a screen was different. But in the end, I did push myself to get outside of my comfort zone, and this helped me enjoy my freshman year. I feel like freshman year is your year to experiment with what you want to do in high school. Join new clubs! If you don’t like them, you can drop them and move on to another one. I also think it is important to remember that joining extracurriculars isn’t all about the “future.” It is also about having fun and creating an outlet for yourself.
Try out new hobbies or test new theories. For example, I hate running, but I was peer pressured by some of my friends to join the track team at my school (outdoor sport = nice during a pandemic). And guess what? I found out I actually enjoyed some bits of track. It was challenging since I hadn’t played a sport in about a year, but it felt good to get out and see other people in a safe way.
Try not to go into high school thinking it is all about the grades.
Personally, I am very grades-driven, and I often forget that grades don’t define who I am or who I’ll be. This sounds deep, but I get caught up in it all the time. At the beginning of freshmen year, I struggled to understand the online dynamic, and it affected my grades and my mentality. Slowly I learned that my grades aren’t “me,” and my mentality changed. I became more aware of the way I carry myself in public (in a good way) and how things I do and say can affect others around me. I learned a lot about the people I’m around. Freshmen year taught me that high school is about growing and learning socially, not just academically.
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