Entering any new world is daunting, but the world of high school can be especially intimidating to a teen. High school, an alternate universe, takes years to be able to navigate with ease, and once the wild world of high school is mastered, students are thrown back to the bottom of the food chain.
Once again, they are all freshmen, full of similar fears but on a larger scale in college. Freshman woes are the real deal to any and every newbie on campus.
For an incoming high school freshman who hasn’t even hit his growth spurt yet, walking to class and seeing 6-foot guys walk the same halls, some even sporting beards, can be pretty intimidating. Though everyone, especially seniors, loves to harp, heckle and hate on freshmen, the truth is seniors are mostly harmless. Generally, upperclassmen are separated from underclassmen. Jillian Temple, a senior at Turlock High, commented that after her first day, she “didn’t see any freshmen at all, they weren’t in my classes. I didn’t even see any in the halls.”
In college, underclassmen generally take lower-division classes, while upperclassmen take upper-division classes.
A new school means a new campus. One tip that can’t be said enough is to walk to classrooms before the first day. Though carrying a map might seem dorky, it isn’t a bad idea to keep one close at hand in case of emergencies.
For college, it couldn’t hurt to download an app such as Falcon, which takes uses the user’s GPS location and points him or her toward a set destination, such as the classroom of an 8 a.m. lecture.
In high school, cross-town rivalries separate friends; in college, state borders do the job. But best friends always will find a way to stay in contact, especially with the help of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, texting, Skype and a plethora of other social media available. Though with distance, communication can be slowed, there’s always Thanksgiving and winter break to bring besties back together.
It seems as the years go by, teachers assign more and more work. Course load is especially rigorous for students striving toward acceptance into a top-tier college or grad school. Katrina Santiago, a Turlock native who now studies in the honors program at Chico State, says the secret to success is “balancing studies with free time” so as to not get overwhelmed. Her strategy has earned her a 4.0 GPA in her first year at college.
With age comes the opportunities to test new limits. In order to avoid getting in an uncomfortable situation, mentally set a boundary before any situation arises that would test it, and more important, make others aware of this boundary. Most of the time, it will be respected. At UCLA freshman orientation, counselors echoed this statement. Also, finding a solid group of friends with similar core beliefs will help to reduce or even eliminate any impending pressure.
Though freshman year seems daunting at first, it is simply another rite of passage that everyone has to go through. Enjoy freshman year while it is here because waiting right around the corner is none other than sophomore year.
Natalia Lima is a freshman at UCLA and a member of The Bee’s Teens in the Newsroom program.