A Survival Guide to High School: What a Freshman Should Know by Faith Hutapea

Faith in her junior year at St. John’s School

Welcome, all high schoolers! The transition from middle school to high school can feel insurmountable, intimidating, even overwhelming. As an incoming freshman, there must be many concerns and fears clouding your mind. Are the classes going to be difficult and extremely demanding? What extracurricular activities should I focus on? How do I meet new people and form new connections? These problems might seem like the first of many, but there is so much more to high school than deadlines and who is dating who. High school is an opportunity to cultivate new skills, form long-lasting connections, and develop into a mature young adult. Throughout your high school career, you will be exposed to different clubs, interesting and influential people, and character-building experiences. As an incoming senior, I believe I have the experience and knowledge to guide you on your journey into high school and the years to come.

Running up the stairs as the bell rang, I rushed towards my first high school class meeting. I was a brand new student, straight from Catholic school and terrified, to say
the least. My heart pounded as I slowly walked to the front of the classroom. My eyes searched around the room for a familiar face, and instead I saw tens of unrecognizable but welcoming faces. Moments later, I took a deep breath and with a great, big smile, the words came flowing out of my mouth, “Good morning! My name is Faith Hutapea, and I am running to be your Freshman class president!”

On the first day of class, the best decision a student can make is to put his or her strong foot forward and be confident. Being confident does not mean having prepared
speeches for potential classmates or hanging posters of yourself all over campus (even though I did both of these things). Being confident means knowing your self worth and what you are capable of, while being humble through it all. In my experience, the significance of knowing yourself — your strengths and limitations, your skills and your passions, and having the utmost respect for yourself — allows students to strive for and accomplish great things.

Second, forming new relationships and connections is an important skill to master and is extremely beneficial, in all aspects. The key components in forming new connections are valuing respect and using tools of communication. As a freshman in high school, you are creating new relationships with teachers, peers, faculty, coaches, and friends, left to right. These genuine relationships should be developed by constant communication and a positive goal.

Faith’s 2016 summer vacation in Volendam, Netherlands

Goals are important to set in the early stages, beginning in your freshman year. They will eventually become your mindset and motivation in bettering yourself as an individual and as a student. More importantly, these goals can be shaped by your passions and interests. Students will discover new interests and strengthen their passions through joining school clubs, sports, or plays. Extracurricular activities open doors to new opportunities through learning, meeting new people who share common interests, and helping your community through collaborative efforts.

Lastly, one of the most significant changes from middle school to high school is the tremendous difference in the amount of freedom and responsibility. An essential quality and skill to have is proper time management and control over procrastination. In high school, most students juggle a tremendous workload, extracurriculars, service projects, and busy social lives. It is crucial to manage time wisely and prioritize your education. Discipline, dedication, and hard work are necessary traits for growing and learning as a mature, educated student. Often, there are going to be situations wherein personal sacrifices will have to be made, but these experiences, if the right choice is made, will only strengthen and develop your character.

Ultimately, the only thing that can shape your future and who you become are your personal experiences, challenges, and growing years. Remember, high school is a place of opportunity, a place where one can meet people with common interests and passions, and a place where friendships and relationships thrive. Moreover, high school is a place that challenges young minds. Proper guidance and support can shape a student into the best possible person he or she can become. Michelle Obama once said, “It’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.” Mrs. Obama added that challenges are not meant to break us down but to build us up and to make us stronger. With these parting thoughts, I wish all of the incoming freshmen and every high school student the best of luck and a well-deserved summer vacation!

This article was originally published in the Mañagu Magazine:  https://saguamanagu-mpg.com/summer-2017-issue/

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