From an old freshman to the new freshmen

Erin McKenna ’18

As the school year approaches its last few days, I decided to make a survival guide for the freshman next year. Not only can I reminisce on all the amazing and sometimes embarrassing  memories, but I can use them to help those who will be in my shoes next year.

My older sister and I on the first day of school all those months ago.

My older sister and I on the first day of school all those months ago.

    • Meet as many people as you can on orientation day. Don’t worry about the names, you will never learn them all in one day. Just meet people and recognize faces. You can’t rely on grade school friends to be your crutches for the first couple of weeks. They won’t all be in your classes, or in your homeroom. Walking into Mercy will be so much easier if you can find familiar faces.
    • Don’t wear makeup or straighten your hair for the first day. It will only make you stand out as a freshman. Keep in mind, most of the other girls woke up probably 15 minutes before they left for school. And wear your hair down at your own risk: the building will most likely be 100 degrees and your neck might actually catch on fire.
    • Don’t bring a date to GAA. It’s your first high school dance, and I know it’s so tempting to bring your best guy friend from grade school. But this dance is so much more fun when you’re with your friends, and not trying to impress a boy. You have the freshman sophomore in February to wow your potential boyfriends.
    • The stairs don’t get easier. Sorry. That morning trek up the third floor for homeroom every morning never becomes easier. There has been many mornings when I have had to take breaks at the landings because I literally could not. I’m an athlete too, I’m in shape, and the thought of going up to third floor makes me want to break both my legs so I can have an elevator pass.
    • Do your homework the night it is assigned. The two days to do homework makes it so easy to save that impossible math homework for the next night. But unless you are going to be gone all night, just get your homework done. This simple time management will save your life later on in high school, and will be especially helpful if you are am athlete with practices every night. Doing this also has bonuses: often I don’t have homework to do at all, because I worked ahead and got it all done the night before.
    • Stray away from your grade school friends. Now don’t misinterpret this; I’m not saying to abandon the friends you’ve had for the last 8 years, but don’t have the expectations of staying BFFs for the next four years. I still talk to the girls from grade school on a regular basis, but I have found friends from other grade schools. These people have become some of my best friends, and that wouldn’t have happened had I stayed within the protective circle of grade school friendships.
    • Keep up with your grades. For some of you, this isn’t even a question. You have always worked hard academically. I’m going to be honest, high school is much harder than grade school. The expectations are higher and it can be very stressful. Come June, when it is time to take the final exams, you will be so much happier if you only have to take one or two, because you are exempt from all the other ones. Working hard pays off in the end.
    • Be yourself. I know, I know, this sounds like stereotypical mom advice. But I’m serious. You are in a new school, with people you don’t know, so of course there will temptations to act “cooler” or different. Let me tell you, that will get you nowhere. You will be so much happier if you stay true to who you are and it will be a lot easier to find friends if you aren’t pretending to be someone else.
    • It goes by way too fast. Make the most of it. Freshman year is a blur to me at this point. I felt like just last week I was the scared freshman entering the unknown. But now, I have had one of the best years of my life. I have made new and amazing friends, but stayed close to my old ones. The friendships I have made will carry me throughout the rest of high school, and the values I have learned from Mercy will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Everyone says high school are the best years of your life. You alone are in charge of your happiness. Make it happen. Make these four years worth remembering. I can definitely say that I am ¼ successful in doing this and can’t wait for the next three years.

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