An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Eleanor K. '20

It’s finally time: summer has dwindled to an end. You waited ’till the last minute to rush out and buy your new school supplies, spent a final couple days outside in the heat (or if you’re me, just stayed inside watching reruns of Doctor Who), and maybe wasted more time than you would like to admit worrying about the school year ahead. Those of you who are incoming freshmen probably did the most worrying of all, as the transition to high school can feel like an uncertain and rocky road. Some of your worries about high school are accurate: there will probably be several days where you wished you didn’t have math last period, and there will definitely be times you’ll wish you had brought your own lunch to school, but as for most of those worries that have been festering throughout break, brush them aside! With a few handy dandy tips, you will be on your way to surviving your freshman year. And yes, it will be easier than surviving the zombie apocalypse. Trust me, I’ve gone through both.

Step One: Join a sport or a club
One of the most important steps to surviving freshman year is becoming part of the Lakeside community. Going into freshman year, I knew nobody at Lakeside so I was really nervous to join the different groups here. Yes, it’s daunting to go to that very first cross-country practice or the first chess club meeting, but it’s worth it. Some of the closest friendships I made last year were during swim season and I didn’t even have any classes with some of those friends. In addition to helping make friends, sports and clubs can be fun stress relievers.

Step Two: Take action into your own hands
Don’t wait on others to become your friend; take action into your own hands! Be the first to invite someone over, even if you’re not close to them, and they will feel happy to be included! It’s very likely that the person you want to be friends with also wants to be friends with you, so just wrack up the nerve and make the move to go sit with them at lunch. Don’t do what I did and sit in the back of the library with your hood up, attempting to attract friends over with my mysterious aura. While magnificent, mystery may make others wary. Until you find your people, try to sit with a variety of people at lunch! You may become friends with someone you never expect to.

Step Three: Stay organized
There is going to be a lot of homework, so make sure you have a way to stay on top of it. Yes, the classwork will be difficult, but it is a whole lot easier if you are organized. Something that works for me (it doesn’t necessarily work for everyone!) is using a planner. This allowed me to make sure that I did homework on the day I got it instead of procrastinating it until the next day. I’m not really one to talk as I spent the vast majority of my frees freshman year catching up on The Great British Baking Show, but I know a lot of people who spent that time wisely and that was really helpful for their organization. There are lots of ways to stay organized, but it’s important to find a way that will help you be successful during the school year.

Step Four: Accept failure – it’s not the end of the world
This is by far one of the most important, but hardest, steps. The academics at my middle school were fairly easy for me, so I really wasn’t prepared to get the first math grade I received at the beginning of freshman year. Throughout the year, I came to realize that it really wasn’t the end of the world to get a grade you’re not satisfied with as long as you work with your teacher on how to move forward. Lakeside is an extremely competitive school and many of my friends got swept up in the stress of trying to be at the top of the class. Though I first started the year off comparing the grades I got with my classmates, I came to realize that nothing about doing that made me feel any better about myself. It’s really difficult to try and not ask others what they got on quizzes, but I found it made my year way easier after I stopped looking at others’ grades and focused on my own. In your freshman year, you are probably going to fail at least a couple quizzes, and learning to not be discouraged and move on is important.

Step Five: Enjoy the ride
My final tip for surviving freshman year is to make sure that you have fun with it! Take time to enjoy lunches with your friends. While frees are good for getting homework done, sometimes it’s important to take one or two off to just relax for a bit. If you came from a different middle school, take the time to call up your old friends from there and get together with them. Taking breaks every once in a while can really help boost your mood and just make your freshman year all-the-more enjoyable.