Seniors Offer Freshmen Advice for High School Success
Transitioning to high school as a freshman is notoriously difficult. Freshmen have to take harder courses, leave their middle school friends, and fit in with a new crowd. Additionally, Walls offers a significantly more rigorous workload than other schools and students at Walls come from an array of schools across the city, making it harder for freshmen to relate to one another. With that in mind, incoming freshmen may find some advice from seniors useful.
Seniors have had four years to find the best way to manage their workload, and can therefore offer many suggestions to freshmen. Our seniors agreed that organization is key to being successful.
Malcolm Douglas, who went to BASIS DC for middle school, emphasized that students should “stay organized and have a planner to write or type down assignments and due dates.”
Maeve Kelly-Mavretic, who attended Two Rivers Public Charter School, said, “A tip would be to ‘break the ice’ with big assignments as soon as possible. Spend 10 minutes beginning a reading, or merely open up the rubric document.”
Juliette Krevat, who went to Hardy Middle School, said, “Split up your work so you don’t have to do it all at once. Talk to your counselors or teachers to help you manage your workload.”
In general, the seniors agreed on not doing all the work at one time and on keeping track of assignments with a planner.
It can be hard to adjust to high school not only academically, but also socially. Thankfully, our seniors have great insight on what social life at Walls is like, and how they were able to make new friends in freshman year.
Kelly-Mavretic emphasized that she has “made a lot of friends through clubs and sports. It also goes a long way just to be a kind person — offer people gum, compliment people’s outfits, or ask how they felt about a quiz. If you’re not making best friends, you’ll at least have some familiar faces in your classes.” She also recommends that freshmen “go to the dances, the sports games, and the team outings. It’s important to establish a dynamic outside of the classroom.”
Krevat agreed, saying, “Walls has so many ways to know people especially because classes are extremely participatory and group project based, which make them conducive to getting to know other people.”
Although meeting people may be hard at first, both Kelly-Mavretic and Krevat highlighted that taking initiative in class goes a long way. Douglas also pointed out that participating in a club or sport will build a social framework for the rest of high school, while also allowing freshmen to know people in different grades.
The transition from middle to high school is rough for a lot of people, and the seniors want you to know you are not alone.
Krevat explained that her freshman workload “was really challenging, especially because I was switching from lower expectations to really high expectations.” Still, she said, “freshman year is mostly social, so focus on getting to know people and getting adjusted to Walls. Don’t put a lot of academic pressure on yourself, because there will always be time for that later and enjoy where you are now.”
On the other hand, Kelly-Mavretic said, “In middle school, it was much easier to give my 110 percent on everything. Freshman year comes with bigger, more complex tasks, and that level of effort and dedication was unsustainable to give across the board. My advice planning-wise would be to get in the habit of task-prioritization.”
Freshman year is a rollercoaster, but putting work into both school and relationships will go a long way. Pacing is important, so follow the seniors' advice gradually, not instantly. With patience, freshman year will be one of great personal improvement.