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Five Things I Wish I Knew as a Freshman

Michelle Joa-Perez, Author

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Going to a new school is always intimidating! When it comes to high school one is overwhelmed by the different activities, opportunities and work load. Here are five things high school seniors wish they knew when they were freshmen that will make the next four years go alot smoother.

Wish #1: Attendance counts!

Whether you are tired because of last night’s project or your friend asks you to skip first block, one can find themselves racking up absences quickly and easily. Absences can affect your grades because of the decrease in instructional time you are receiving compared to a student who goes to class on time everyday. Even if one is amazing at math or science and passes the class with flying colors, not showing up to class can have legal consequences and the school can make you repeat the course. Edward Carreon, a senior from Snyder High School says “Being absent all the time will fail you even if you have straight ‘A’s.” Because of absences, Carreon had to attend summer school; absences can affect your number of credits so if you are absent past a certain amount you will be required to go to summer school. Trust me, going to school in the blazing heat while your friends are home relaxing is not fun.

Wish #2: Grades Count!

Chaimea Dardouri, an Infinity Institute senior says “I wish I kept in mind my grades would count.” Of course, we all know that grades count in school but she is referring to grades of her freshmen year. Often, we think “colleges don’t look at my freshman year” and forget that those grades can greatly impact our GPA in the long run. Yes, you have three more years to fix a bad GPA, but it is easier to maintain and raise a high GPA than trying to raise a low one. Colleges like to see that your grades improve over time. However, making sure to take every class seriously and looking at every class as an opportunity to learn something new from the beginning of high school can guarantee a GPA that can get you into your dream school.

Wish #3: Don’t Let Anybody Stop You!

Throughout high school, we discover that many of our dreams are going to have to be set to the side because of grades, attendance or lack of opportunities. Sometimes, teachers, family members and friends can tell you that “you are not good enough” and “to have a plan B because that dream seems a little too big”. When speaking to Shivani Patel, a senior in Infinity Institute, she said “Do whatever you want and don’t let anybody stop you.” Letting other people’s doubts and lack of support should not limit your opportunities and experiences.

Wish #4: Your friends change…

People change throughout high school both physically and mentally. There is a big difference between someone when they come in to highschool as a fourteen year old freshman and a leave as an eighteen year old senior. Because everyone is trying to find themselves in high school, friends can grow apart because interests change. Also, as one gets older and older one realizes that classes with you and your close friends can become totally different because of different requirements or interests. Most importantly, the higher you go on the education ladder, the more responsibility you have and the more work you have to do. Jessica Oudhnarine, an Infinity Institute senior says “My friend group is going to change a lot over the next four years so I shouldn’t take things so seriously and stress about change. She is definitely right because friends tend to grow apart as the years go by whether it’s because they changed or you both did. On the bright side, you can always make new friends and expand your network.

Wish #5: Get involved!

The best piece of advice I can give is to get involved in every academic opportunity that comes to you. Whether it’s sports, student council, prom committee, yearbook committee or different clubs, colleges want a well rounded student. Holding leadership positions like class president, student council president, event coordinator or honor society president are also very impressive. Looking for internships and different types of community service opportunities are a great way to gain experience in the working field and meet new people. Meeting new people is also a great advantage because establishing and maintaining connections can provide fantastic and working opportunities in the future.

Remember, high school is not going to last forever. Enjoy the close friends, lack of responsibility and opportunities to spark new interests. Take the next four years as a chance to better your self esteem, learn how to have a positive attitude, and most importantly learn how to make connections. After high school, one is still growing and learning new things. High school is just the beginning…

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