At this same time last year, I was excited to be leaving my middle school days at Lokelani Intermediate behind, but I was also nervous about being a freshman in high school. I spent my summer worrying about who I was going to sit with at lunch, how upperclassmen would treat me, who would have the locker next to mine, etc.
But now that I am nearing the end of my freshman year at Seabury Hall, I realize that my eighth grade self had nothing to worry about. Here is my advice for Seabury Hall’s incoming freshmen, the class of 2019.
One of the first mistakes you can make as a freshman is to not do the reading you were assigned to do over summer. If you were told to read books, try to find some time to read them because you will be expected to know about the books when you start school. During the summer, you should have enough free time to read the books. Make a goal. If you start at the beginning of summer and read a decent amount per day, then you should be finished with your summer reading by July.
The first time freshmen get put into their advisements is at freshmen orientation. Your advisement has 11-12 students in it. You will be with your advisees for the next four years of high school, so make sure you get along with them. Freshmen orientation is a 24-hour event, where freshmen interact with their advisements and other freshmen in their class. The purpose of the orientation is to make you feel comfortable at Seabury and with your classmates before you meet the upperclassmen and start your classes.
First Day with Upperclassmen
On your first day, you should already be familiar with your advisements. You will most likely have upperclassmen in your electives, but you should not be afraid. No matter how intimidating they might be, they are not that much older than you. They have been freshmen before, so they understand what you’re going through. One thing you should refrain from doing is complain about your classes. No matter how hard your class is, upperclassmen will always believe their assignments are harder. Don’t question it.
You should be assigned a locker by the first day of school. Seabury Hall’s lockers are structured so that there is one locker on top of another. Freshmen usually get the bottom lockers, and it is very likely that you will have to wait for the person above you to get out of the way. Don’t be afraid to talk to them. Don’t just stand there and look at them until they are done doing whatever they are doing. Say “Excuse me,” or anything that a normal person would say. Upperclassmen are not mean, I promise.
If you haven’t already heard, the lunch at Seabury Hall is great. On your first day you will notice that the dining hall gets crowded very quickly. Students are constantly trying to squeeze through the six-inch space between each chair in the room. It can be hectic. If you can get to lunch early, then you are lucky. Ten minutes after the upper school lunch officially starts, there will be a line heading all the way to the entrance to Cooper House. Do not be afraid to sit alone. There will most likely be a time when you will have to sit alone, and it may seem like people are judging you or thinking that you are a “loner,” but in reality, they do not care. Most students have had to sit alone, and it should not be seen as a bad thing.
By the time December came around, I had already developed several study skills. In time, you will develop your own routine with homework. Keep up with your work, because if you slack, your assignments will continue to pile up. The more you procrastinate, the more stressed you are about getting your work done. Do not let stress overwhelm you! Always remember that you can take a step back and breathe. Take a break. Whatever it takes to stay sane and still get a relatively good grade, do it.
Quizlet is a website where you can make flashcards on your computer or phone and study them. The website sets up different types of games or quizzes you can take with your flash cards that should help you study. They are great for vocabulary in your English and language classes, key words in biology, and much more. With the amount that you learn at Seabury Hall, you might want to make Quizlets as you go through the year. Quizlet has helped me immensely this year, and I would have used an unnecessary amount of paper and extra time if I had not known about Quizlet.
Because of all the homework you will receive, you will probably find ways to blame your teachers and be angry with them. I cannot count how many complaints I’ve heard about teachers. Sure, some teachers can be unfair at times, but try to keep your complaints to yourself. For the most part, they are there to help you and teach you.
To be honest, complaints about school in general can get very annoying. We all know that Seabury Hall can be difficult. I have made it a personal goal to complain less about my workload next year. You should start early.
Lastly, do not be afraid to join clubs or sports. This is a mistake I have made several times this year. I was always worried that I would not have enough time to do homework if I did any extracurriculars. Try something new. Seabury Hall has a lot to offer. There is dance, theater, Art with Heart, Math Club, Philosophy Club, Debate Club, Earth Friends, plenty of sports and more. If you find that you do not have enough time for something or maybe you just do not feel right, then you can quit. Do not let sports or any of other extracurriculars take over your life. Make sure you have enough time to finish your school work.
Overall, a lesson I have learned is to listen more than talk. Be open minded about things. Listen to what others have to say. You will find friends this way. Observe the people around you and experience high school, because it will go by fast. I am almost finished with my freshman year, and I feel as if freshman orientation was not too long ago. I survived my freshman year and so can you.