Navigating freshman year can be exciting, but it is also daunting at first glance. It may be overwhelming to think about the next four years and how you will spend your time to get the most out of your high school experience. Fear not, for this is a simplified guide to surviving freshman year.

First and foremost, time management is key. The Schoology calendar might not be enough. On top of classes, you’ll find yourself busy with sports, clubs, and more, making it difficult to stay organized without a plan. Use a planner or other tools and resources to help you keep track of your to-do list. Finding a balance between academic and social life is crucial to having a meaningful and successful high school experience.

Connecting with different people is also important. Don’t limit yourself to your friend group. Interact with students from other grades, both day students and boarders alike. Take advantage of new opportunities to meet new people. Reach out to teachers if you have any questions or want to discuss a particularly interesting topic with them. 

Don’t forget to live in the moment. It’s okay to be thinking about your future goals, especially with college coming around the corner in a few years. However, don’t get stuck in the what-ifs, and make the most out of the present moment. Don’t get too caught up in what other people might think of you. This is your high school journey, not for others to define.

One common pitfall to avoid is getting addicted to caffeine. It may be tempting to grab a cup of coffee before your first class, especially if you pulled an all-nighter right before. An occasional trip to coffee shops downtown can be refreshing, but you don’t want to be the person who always has a coffee in hand and will not survive without it. Focus on building healthy study habits and make sure you’re not stressing too much.

As always, choose your path wisely. Make good choices, whether they are classes, clubs, or anything else that will take your time and energy. Just because your friend signed up for a class doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing. How you spend your next four years will come to shape who you are. No pressure.

Last but not least, don’t be a recluse. It is important to get involved in the community. Unless you’re inspired by Thoreau to live in the woods and write about transcendentalist philosophy, don’t shy away from school activities and events. Freshman year is a time to explore and have fun. 

All in all, be yourself. Remember, you’re not on your own. Reach out to your peers, teachers, and trusted ones for help along the way. Even the scary seniors were once in your position.