Survival Guide for freshman year

Marian Osman, In-Depth Editor

“I wish I knew this when I was a freshman,” many upperclassmen say. Entering freshman year, one has probably heard several stories about high school experiences from a family member, friends, television shows or even online videos. Freshman year is a new setting and can make one feel scared, uncomfortable, confused and excited.

How movies portray high school is not the case. High school is extremely different than what you see when watching a new Netflix movie featuring Noah Centineo. This doesn’t mean that high school is going to be boring.

Don’t expect high school to be a certain way because of the stories that you heard. Enter high school positively, explore and make a good experience. Make your own experience and be the judge of high school.


When you get an assignment, it is better to start on it immediately than to wait until the night before it is due to get started on it. It is easy to forget about a project that was given to you that is due in a couple of weeks. Instead of forgetting about the assignment, it is better to plan out days where you complete it step by step. It may seem that you have plenty of time to complete the assignment, but you won’t. Many teachers will also be giving out other assignments and be accepting them to be completed as well. Some assignments might also be due on the same day as other big assignments. Not procrastinating will better prepare students who want to take Honors or IB classes or even aim for the IB Diploma or Advanced Diploma. 


You’ve probably heard this one multiple times from teachers and think “I’m going to remember that, I don’t need to write it down.” Whenever you say that you are most likely going to forget and say, “I forgot the assignment was due today,” on the day the assignment is due. Using an agenda is a great way to stay on top of your classes and knowing when an assignment must be completed or when you have an upcoming test or quiz. Although AHS doesn’t give agendas out anymore, you can still buy agendas, which will help you know when you have sports or days for sport games. Another way of keeping track of what you need to complete is using an agenda or any other system that you see best fit. It’s better to be safe and remind yourself about assignments than to regret not writing it down. Agendas, phones, or other techniques are useful tools to help you be organized and will become helpful when the years go on. If you sign up for hard classes, such as IB courses in the future, writing things down would be a good habit.

  1. GET INVOLVED                        

High school is supposed to be about finding things out about yourself and there’s no better way to do it than joining a club or sport. There are more opportunities for you to make new friends with people in clubs or sports. Joining a club or sport will also tell colleges that you will be applying to in senior year that you can handle everything. Annandale has many clubs and sports to offer and if you don’t know about them, there will be a fair to show you clubs and activities during Pride Time. Not only should you join clubs, but you should also go to football games and other sport games that happen at Annandale. Live in the present because once high school is done there’s no going back and you might regret not having fun with friends.

  1. GO TO CLASS                                               

Many freshmen think that it’s “cool” to walk around school and not go to class at all. There’s nothing “cool” about getting an F on your report card for not showing up to any of your classes and getting detention. There’s also nothing “cool” about coming to school to not go to class. Coming to school means learning and getting an education and not fooling around. Even though your parents are not at school to tell you what to do, you should think about your future and keep in mind what you want to get out of high school. Attendance counts and showing good impressions to your teachers might help you in the future for college letters.


Grades! Grades! Grades! Every student has heard about grades and how they should aim for good grades from a teacher or guardian at one point in their life. Grades are important and help you get into the college that you want to get into. Keeping a good GPA will help you get into the college that you want. High school is a different setting than middle school and it requires more work to keep up your grades. If you start working hard from the beginning of your freshman year you will adapt to high school and keeping up with grades and extracurricular activities will be easier to handle.

  1. TIME MANAGEMENT               

Having your nose in a book or studying all day is not a fun way to enjoy high school year. Grades and extracurricular activities should be important, but you should also have time for other things such as, family time or hanging out with your friends during the weekends. High school is not all about studying but also making sure that you get a good high school experience that you can remember in the future. Doing extracurricular activities can be difficult as they may put stress on you and make you stay up at night to study. Finding the right schedule is key, so that you can also have a life that isn’t only about school.

  1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK           

“Why would I do my homework if it’s only 10% of my grade?” Asking yourself this question is normal but doing your homework even though it might be only a smart percentage of your grade for a class is important. The teacher might only assign one homework assignment or a few, which can boost your grade if you did horrible on other categories of a class. Homework will also be a great study guide for an upcoming quiz or test. Homework is a great way to remember and make sure to not forget the lesson that you learned in class. Turning in homework late is better than not turning it in at all even though you should complete it on time and get it out of the way.

  1. PARTICIPATE                               

Asking questions in class can be uncomfortable if the whole classroom is quiet and people stare at you when you ask the question. Even if nobody in class is asking questions, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone understands what is going on. Asking a question might help other students who are afraid to ask questions and they might even be grateful for doing a brave thing. The teachers’ goal is to help you learn the curriculum so that you can pass the class with knowledge of what you were supposed to learn in the class. The teacher is not trying to scare you off, so asking questions is not going to make a teacher angry or mad at you. This will help your teacher to get a better understanding of the type of student you are and shows that you are putting in effort and are paying attention in class. This will help in future years if you are trying to take more challenging courses. This will also help when you need college recommendations and need a teacher to write you a recommendation. Also, take part during spirit week and dress up for each day and take pride of wearing school gear.

  1. MANAGE STRESS                        

High school will make you stressed with the amount of assignments and tests that you need to study for. Getting stressed is normal and is something that you will experience. Whether it’s about your GPA, test grade, teachers, parents or even college admission papers, academic pressure can be an all-time high during high school. Finding a healthy way to get rid of the stress is a must. This includes: self-care, such as going to sleep early, getting healthy food, taking a break from homework to focus on yourself, doing a face mask or even doing something you enjoy that will make you happy.