The first website I got when googling “advice for high school freshmen” was a wikiHow page. On this wikiHow page were such precious nuggets of advice like “eat breakfast and lunch everyday,” “accept change,” and “be yourself.”
If you need to be told to eat your morning meals as you enter high school, then I want to know: what have you been doing for the first fourteen years of your life? And who doesn’t want to accept free change if someone’s handing it out? Use it to buy yourself breakfast.
As for the “be yourself,” well, who else are you going to be? You can’t just show up on the first day and expect that if you call yourself “Abraham Lincoln” people will compliment you on winning the Civil War and tell you to watch out for people named John. It doesn’t work that way, unless you’re some sort of alien-thing. Therefore, while that wikiHow page might be the best advice for incoming high school freshmen who are not human, my advice is best for humans.
Now that we’re all sure this advice is the best, it’s probably time for me (now an upperclassmen) to actually give you the advice. Whether you are an incoming freshman or not, I’m sure you’ll get something helpful out of this. Unless you are illiterate, of course, in which case, I’d like to congratulate you on making it this far.
One of the biggest concerns for people like girls and appearance-conscious guys* is the new set of fashion guidelines. No longer a dorky junior high student, you are probably worried that your suspenders, cufflinks, double-breasted vests, Spartan warrior costume (complete with fake spear), fedoras, shoulder-high socks, and brilliant cowlick comb over combinations won’t fit in.
*which, probability-wise, have a lesser chance of existing than aliens who know how to navigate wikiHow.
Well, here’s some advice: if you were made fun of wearing it in Junior High, you will probably get the same treatment in high school. Only it’ll be even worse, because you’ll be in high school for four years (instead of the 2-3 of middle school), where you will be stuck with a nickname like “suspenders dude,” “tall socks,” or “Frank.”
For girls, I have no idea (past the made-fun-of standard) what the fashion is. It is usually changing faster than you can look up the word “couture” in a dictionary, so if you’ve got clothes that won’t work right now, save them for a few minutes until they become hip.
For guys, as long as your fashion falls under all of the other advice in this guide, you can pull anything off with enough indifference and quiet confidence. You could wear spaghetti in your hair and marinara on your shirt, and as long as you walked around looking like you didn’t care (but knew) that you had an Italian meal splattered on yourself, you’ll be fine. If someone does approach you, and asks, “Dude, you know you’ve got some carbohydrates in your hair?” simply reply, “Yeah, so?”
Navigating the School
This will be your first year at school, so you probably won’t have any idea how to get anywhere.
As far as finding your classes goes, know that each school was designed so like subject classes are close together (such as all the math classrooms being in the same hall). However, there is always one exception because the school ran out of classrooms. Your class will be that exception, so if you have an English class next, look in the English hall last. It’s a brilliant system that never fails.
Room numbers tell you only what floor your classroom will be on; otherwise, they are useless. There are no signs pointing down halls with things like “201-215 →” printed on them, and it’s not unusual to pass room 217 only to see that the next room is 247.35a.
Finding the bathrooms will be most important, but it shouldn’t be too hard. Simply follow the sounds of running water. There’s a low chance that you’ll end up at a nearby river and get swept to your death, but that doesn’t happen too often, especially if you’re wearing spaghetti.
Dealing with Upperclassmen
There are many important things you need to remember about upperclassmen.
Boys are pretty easy to handle. First, they are stronger than you. Second, they want you to know that they are stronger than you. Thirdly, they are stronger than you. Basically, unless it is unavoidable, do not annoy nor bump into any upper-class boys.
Girls don’t necessarily have the strength advantage, but they are terrific at gossiping. Who hears that gossip? The boys. And remember, the upperclassmen are stronger than you.
Seriously, though, if you are really lost, or are directly approached, and cannot avoid talking to an upperclassmen, take precautions. Remain a safe distance away, and start every sentence you say with “I’d like to remind you that I’m mostly just bones and not very tasty sopleasedon’teatmepleaseplease.” They probably won’t hurt you.
(If you’ve done something to offend an upperclassman but they haven’t returned the favor yet, it might be a wise idea to keep that model spear you made when you were ‘supes chill’ in junior high school somewhere nearby, like in your pencil case).
Dealing with the Work Load
Don’t complain to your teachers, nor the upperclassmen, how much work you have. The teachers will give you more work. The upperclassmen? They’ll just tell you things like, “You have a 20-page paper due at the end of the week? Dude, I’ve got a 4,556 page paper due next class and it was assigned by email at 3:00AM this morning,” and scare you about the next 4 years of your life.
You can complain to other freshmen, especially as a conversation starter, if it gets tiring to keep talking about how awesome the upperclassmen are (but, as an upperclassman, I can say that it probably won’t).
Basically, you’ll be facing four years of the most work you’ve ever had to do in your life. But don’t even think about that. No, what you need to do is procrastinate like there’s no tomorrow. Literally, if there is no tomorrow, then if you don’t do the work today, you’ll never have to do it!
Sadly, the global calendar hasn’t bought in to this, but teens everywhere are working on it. Or at least, it’s at the top of their to-do list for when they stop procrastinating.
Lockers are the one thing that will still intimidate you, even when you are a 400lb, 6′ 5″, senior with a voice deeper than a subwoofer. As such, they have been already covered on this blog: here’s how to break in your new locker, and here’s why lockers are not your friend (this one’s also illustrated, with 4 more pictures than normal).
As you finish this guide, and actually prepare to show up at high school, I want to leave you with one more piece of advice: read this blog. Or, at least, pretend to. It won’t make you rich, and it will keep you from getting your work done, but it should fulfill that gaping hole in your soul that your hormones create. Plus, we’ve covered and continue to cover just about everything you ever wanted to know about high school life (that’s PG-rated, of course. Yes, I know that means we only cover about 15% of high school life*).
Oh, you don’t have a gaping hole in your soul? Let me see that Roman spear real quick.
*Just joking, gullible freshmen. You don’t need to be that scared. The number’s closer to 35%.
Last year at this time, we took a break from the back-to-school craze and covered something equally as unpleasant (although it lasts for a much shorter amount of time): The Torturous Dental Examination. Want to know what really happens at the dentist? Well, you should, for the preservation of your mental health the next time you go.