Freshman year in high school is an exciting time. It’s a time for new beginnings. It brings new opportunities, new friendships, and a new level of freedom and independence. That’s a lot of change and change can be exciting to some, and frightening to others. Parents can be supportive of their child through this transition by discussing fears, dreams, and plans for high school while reassuring that their child has all kinds of support available to them. Support includes tutoring, Teachers, School Counselors, School Psychologists, Social Workers, School Nurses, and Administrators. There are many ways to get involved in high school which helps students feel connected to their school, somewhat easing the social transition. There are a variation of athletics, clubs, and organizations that appeal to a diversity of tastes. There is rarely a dull moment in high school. There seems to always be some sort of activity happening, whether it’s a sporting event, a Pep Rally, a Faculty vs. Student Basketball game, a play, a choral concert, a band concert or competition, a DECA competition, a club meeting or activity, or community service being performed by one of our student organizations.
There are a few things that would be helpful to keep in mind as students begin high school. There will likely be a larger time commitment to academics. Students should be ready to spend more time each night preparing for their classes. That means studying in addition to completing required assignments. Guiding students to develop a nightly routine can be helpful.
Help students to understand that final grades are being permanently recorded on their transcripts at the completion of each class, which begins as early as the end of 1st semester in freshman year. Older students sometimes say that they regret their performance in the first year or two of high school. They wish they had listened when they were told to take their studies seriously — if only they had thought more long-term.
Extracurricular activities require a time commitment as well. Students will need to quickly learn how to find the right balance between their studies and extracurricular activities. For example, athletics may require daily practice after school and several games during the week depending upon the sport. Some clubs and organizations have meetings before or after school and perform community service after hours. It is important for students to realize that they must be more efficient with their time when adding extra activities. In order to get enough time for homework and sleep, they may have to sacrifice time elsewhere.
Eating healthy, exercise, getting enough sleep, and limiting screen time can all aid in a better academic and overall high school experience. It is probable that students will experience some difficult times during high school. How they work through those times is key. Some anxiety or disappointment are to be expected at times depending upon individual situations. Anxiety serves a purpose and is not always a bad thing. A little anxiety can make a student finally stop procrastinating and get that project done that has been weighing on their mind. It can also help a student to realize they are in a situation that they want to change. Parents can monitor their child for signs that anxiety or depression have become more than a brief episode and can reach out for guidance from their School Counselor or Psychologist.
Our goal as educators is to provide our students a great education full of enriching opportunities which will prepare them to follow their dreams after graduation whether that be a four-year college, two-year college, trade school, the military, or employment. It is also important to realize that students may have aspirations beyond a four-year college. A student’s decision to pursue something other than a four-year college does not mean they will not be successful. We hope that each student has the opportunity to pursue their individual interests and talents and can begin to see what their future may look like. While we have lofty academic goals and hopes for our students, we also hope they have had a wonderful experience socially and have made many friendships and memories along the way!