Dear High School Freshies

In a few short weeks, I will begin a new adventure at college, and will detail my experiences right here on Fangirlish for all of you.  As I wait for those adventures to begin, I cannot help but reminisce on the past four years on my life, and remember how anxious I was to begin my adventures in high school — like so many of you are right now.

Here are the top four things that I wish someone had told me before I entered high school:

You are “Freshies”

You will probably be called a “freshie” by an upperclassmen.  This is normal, it happens to every single high school freshman.  You might not like it, but the sooner you embrace it, the quicker you can just get over it and move on.

Who to Sit With at Lunch

First of all, let’s begin by addressing the elephant in the room — friendships.  Now, some of you will be attending the same school as some as your friends from middle school.  However, there are a handful of you who are going into high school knowing no one in your grade.

When I was entering high school, I was the latter, and to make matters worse, my social media life was nonexistent, so when I first attended the freshman picnic, my awkward, introverted self was internally screaming.  If that’s you, no worries!  There are plenty of other kids who are starting out without knowing anyone else, as well.  We’ll touch more on this later, but get involved in different clubs and activities!  It is a great way to meet people.

If you are entering high school knowing some people already, that’s great, too!  You will have this sort of comfort blanket as you begin, but remember that it is okay to branch out and meet new people, as well.  

Here’s the plain, hard truth: your friend group will change throughout the years.  Whether that be by your friend group just expanding and welcoming someone new, or that “best friend” during your freshman and sophomore year that you barely talk to come junior year.  The people you know from middle school, or that really cool kid you met at orientation, may not still be your best friends in your senior year, and that is totally okay!  It is 100% normal to change up your friend group.

As you go through high school, you are going to change in some way, and with those changes will come a desire to find people who fit those changes.  For example, if you go from being a jock to discovering your passion for art, you’ll probably start to surround yourself with new people who share that passion.  Whatever happens is totally okay, and I can’t stress that enough.  Any drifts that may happen between you and your friend group is nothing personal — everyone is just growing in different ways, but that doesn’t mean there has to be any bad blood.

Spoiler Alert: You’re Going to Fail … And That’s Okay!

Alright, so maybe in middle school you had straight A’s in every single class, and everyone called you the Hermione Granger of your grade.  Maybe it seemed like the end of the world when you received a B.

Here is another hard truth that everyone I have talked to has discovered: you might actually fail in high school.

All of the classes that you are taking in high school will be far more rigorous than your middle school classes, and the homework load will be far more than you’re used to.  Your homeroom teacher won’t go, “Oh, you have 30 problems to do for Math?  Hmm… Okay, then just forget to do this one assignment for my class.  We’ll make it up some other time.”

Now, this doesn’t mean you are going to drown in your work.  You really have to manage your time wisely, and use your free periods/lunch to your full advantage.  If you have an essay due in a week that you haven’t even thought of, maybe skip out on watching that YouTube video with your friend.

Your teachers are always there to help you, as well.  They want to see you succeed!  If you are struggling with an assignment, ask them to set up a time to go see them for help, so that they can answer your specific questions, and help you walk through it until you’ve mastered it.  For example, freshman year I was learning French for the first time, and the class was taught entirely in the language.  I remember constantly going to my teacher to just run through vocabulary or work out sentence structures, and I cannot express how much that helped not only my grade, but my confidence when speaking in class.

If you are truly overwhelmed with five million assignments piling up, just go talk to your teacher.  More likely than not, they will be willing to give you an extension, if you come up with a set plan and deadline.

So there are many ways where you can receive help with a class you’re struggling with, but remember, high school is harder than middle school and you might fail a test or two.  You might end up with a class average of a B, and that is more than okay, as long as you put in as much effort as you could.  Not everyone is meant to be a mathematician, a scientist, or a writer.

It might seem like the end of the world if you get a F on one test, but I promise you that you will still graduate and get into college.  Just pick yourself up, ask for help, and kick ass on the next test.

Unleash your Inner Troy Bolton… You Can Thank Me Later

Maybe during middle school, you were a star basketball player, but you have always had this secret desire to perform on stage.

Hmm… maybe I’ve been watching a bit too much High School Musical lately.

My point is that it is okay — and normal — to branch out of what you normally do, and try something new.  You might totally fail at it or you might be amazing, but you will never until you try.

Before high school, I had always wanted to try acting simply because it seemed fun.  As I grew up obsessing over different movies and TV shows, my desire to story tell grew stronger, so when I was placed into a theatre class at the very beginning of my freshman year, I was ecstatic.  I loved the class, and my introverted self had found a voice in that class, performing in front of my peers.

Flash forward to when auditions for the fall play was announced, and I was even more enthused.  However, I was too nervous to audition.  Luckily for me, my theatre teacher came up to me one day after class, after auditions had closed, and asked if I would like to help out backstage, to which I immediately said yes.  Long story short: there was an opening in the cast, and I played one of the main roles of the toucan.  I had become close to some of the seniors in the play, who served as great mentors and role models throughout my years.  Some of my greatest memories from high school happened during that play, and the next three I participated in.  

What if I had never gotten so lucky as to been asked to help out backstage, then become apart of the cast?  I would have missed out on an incredible opportunity, all due to nerves.  Sure, by junior year, my theatre days were over, but I will always have a special place in my heart for all of the long rehearsals and cast/crew bonding.  

I encourage each of you to step out of your comfort zone and sign up for a sport, club, auditions, etc., if you’re even slightly considering it.  You may hate it, but at least you won’t spend your whole life wondering what it would have been like.  You’ll make some memories and meet some new people during that adventure, and you will definitely discover something new about yourself — that’s a promise.  Every single thing I participated in during high school has taught me something new about myself.

Oh, plus, it helps to have activities to put on your college applications! (;


If you have any questions or anxieties about the upcoming school year, reach out to an older sibling or cousin!  They will be more than willing to share their experiences with you. 

Good luck this fall!  I know that you will do great things.

Aerin Wagner

Queen of the Living

Just another broke college Queen trying to navigate the world of the living.

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