I’ve certainly learned a lot from high school. The first thing I learned upon the first few weeks of my freshman year is to not expect the worst.

Before I became a freshman, I had many bad expectations about high school life. I always thought that my high school experience would be the worst experience. But, after a couple weeks of school, I learned that it isn’t too bad; it is just a challenging time of our lives.

Before high school, I always thought high school would consist of frustrating work, bullies, and stricter teachers. I was also scared that I might lose the friends I made in middle school. I felt I wasn’t ready for high school, especially when eighth grade wasn’t the greatest school year for me. With much harder work and lessons, I had a difficult time in my last year of middle school. But upon the first week of high school, I found things were not what I really expected. Some of the people I knew didn’t change as much as I thought, and sophomores and upperclassmen were also more welcoming than I expected them to be.

But as my freshman year went along, I began to seclude myself from others because I
felt like I didn’t belong to the freshman group. I felt that there were many cliques among the students. I wanted to join conversations, but I always threw that idea away because I felt that anything that came out of my mouth would be stupid or absurd. Or I felt that they didn’t want to talk to me in the first place. I would try to find places where I could privately wait out the breaks and lunches until I could finally go home and do what I wanted to do. But life presented me with times where I was forced to socialize through groups, projects, and activities. These things encouraged me to talk a little bit more to my classmates and peers. Nowadays, although I keep my conversations to a maximum of three sentences to make it less awkward for the person I’m talking to, I feel that it has been an improvement from the first quarter of freshman year.

To future freshmen, I want you to have the best first year of high school. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from upperclassmen and to help your fellow peers. The upperclassmen will be happy to help newcomers to the high school. And to the handful of people who do struggle with socializing, don’t turn away from opportunities to socialize. Engage in conversations with your other peers and make friends because going through high school is better with friends than without.