Surviving Public High School: Things Seniors Wish They Knew as Freshman

Published April 10, 2017 |
Surviving Public High School: Things Seniors Wish They Knew as Freshman
Entering high school is a big change and a big challenge. Take advice from high school teachers and fellow students to help you survive the transition.

Making the switch from middle school to high school is a nerve-wracking change for many students. For some reason, the idea of changing to a new school full of new teachers and new students can be very overwhelming. If your child is nervous about going to high school next year, talking to him about the change may be beneficial. It may also help for your child to take some advice from graduating seniors as well as high school teachers. Keep reading to learn more.

Challenges in Transitioning from Middle to High School

Switching to a new school is always a difficult thing to do but it is something that most students go through several times throughout their academic careers. One of the biggest transitions is the one from middle school to high school because it also coincides with puberty for many students. Not only will students find themselves facing a new school with unfamiliar classes, new teachers, and a new schedule, but they also have to navigate the challenges of making new friends and finding their niche within the student body. These things are compounded by additional challenges like resisting peer pressure to drink or do drugs and entering into the world of sexual exploration.

Before you make the transition from middle to high school, there are some practical things you can do to make the switch a little easier. One simple but important thing you should make sure to do is familiarize yourself with a map of the school and take a look at the class schedule so you have an idea how long classes are going to be and when they start and end. If your middle school doesn’t already facilitate some kind of introduction day, take a tour of the school before you start classes so you know where things are. If you have a sibling or the sibling of a friend who is already in high school, you may want to see if they can offer you some tips.

Tips for Freshman from High School Seniors

High school is a difficult four years for many students, but being prepared before you set foot in the school on the first day of class can make the transition a little easier. Here are some tips from high school seniors that may help you to navigate the waters of entering high school a little bit easier:

  • Remember that you are not alone. While you may feel like the only one who is struggling, remember that hundreds of other students are going through the exact thing you are – and that’s just in your school alone, kids all over the country are making the same transition. It may be difficult at first but you’ll adjust and find your place.
  • Join a club or take up a new sport. Whether you want to learn something new or make new friends, joining a club or taking up a new sport is a great way to do it. Even if you feel like you have nothing in common with the other kids in the group, that won’t be true for long – you’ll bond through club activities.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is no shame in needing or asking for help. In fact, if you don’t ask for help you could just be putting yourself in a more difficult situation that may be easily solved simply by asking for help. Take advantage of your guidance counsellor as well as your teachers.
  • Be open to making new friends. Even if you have some friends from middle school who are joining you in high school, you should be open to expanding your friend group. The more students you know and have friendships with, the less alone and overwhelmed you are going to feel. You’ll actually enjoy your high school experience!
  • Don’t be afraid of the upperclassmen. Many underclassmen are afraid of juniors and seniors or they find them intimidating because they seem to confident. Just remember that these students were in your exact position just a year or two ago. If they seem confident, know that you’ll get to that point as well!
  • Pay attention in class and do the homework. Nobody loves homework but keeping up with your classwork is very important if you are going to do well in high school. It may not seem important to you at the time but when it comes time to apply to college you’ll be glad you made the effort.
  • Don’t forget to have fun. High school can be difficult and scary at times, but it can also be fun! There are plenty of student activities to take advantage of and new friends to be made. Enter high school with a willing heart and an open mind, and you’ll be fine.

In addition to following these simple tips, you should also familiarize yourself with the student handbook. The rules in high school may be different from middle school and a minor infraction in the dress code or student conduct can sometimes get you into big trouble. By knowing what the rules are, you can avoid breaking them and that will save you a lot of headache and hassle.

High School Advice from Public School Teachers

Getting advice from other students is a great way to prepare yourself for high school, but the advice you get from students isn’t always going to be the best – you should also consider what some of your teachers have to say. Here are some tips from high school teachers about making the transition to high school from middle school:

  • Don’t slack off too much over the summer. While you should certainly enjoy your free time, don’t forget to take a look at your summer reading list and anything else you might be expected to do before the first day of school.
  • Develop strong study habits right away. When you enter high school, you may find that you suddenly have a lot more homework to do so you’ll need to develop strong study habits to stay on top of it. Learn how to prioritize your assignments and manage your time – it will prepare you for college.
  • Be an active participant. Don’t just pass silently through high school – it is going to be much more tolerable (even enjoyable) if you get involved. Join a club, make new friends, and don’t spend every weekend at home!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are going to be assignments and classes that you struggle with but don’t feel like you have to struggle alone. Ask questions if you don’t understand something and reach out to fellow students or to your teachers for help.
  • Be honest and true to yourself. Peer pressure is real and it can be overwhelming at times, but it is important that you stay true to yourself and your beliefs instead of trying to change yourself into someone you are not just to fit in. You’ll be much happier if you remain honest.
  • Communicate with your teachers. Although it may not always feel like it, your teachers are on your side and they want to help you. If you are struggling with an assignment or need some extra help, don’t be afraid to ask and don’t wait until the due date to do it!

Every student’s experience in transition to public high school is unique, but every student who makes the transition is essentially going through the same thing. It is important to remember that you are not alone, even if it sometimes feels like you are. Just make an effort to stay true to yourself and try to enjoy your high school experience as much as possible.


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