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Assurances from a Highschool Senior to a Freshman...

It is currently August 1st, and school starts on August 10th. Well, for Plant at least. I came from a tiny, private middle school with around 60 kids in my graduating class, and then I went to Plant, which has 636 kids in my class. I can't say for certain how the transition is for kids who went to public school, but I know I was pretty stressed out during my 8th-grade summer. I had all sorts of stress, such as getting lost, making new friends, AP classes, social life, and upperclassmen. I did all the things you were supposed to do: I went to fast camp, I went to orientations, my mom got in touch with other moms from my private school to share her worries, and my brother gave me the rundown on how high school works since he's two years older than me. Surprisingly, I was probably more stressed for high school when it was his turn to finally attend Plant. I think my biggest fear was probably getting lost. To cope with that, I would convince myself that I would be fine because everybody else would also be getting lost if that was the case for me. However, on the first day of school, I pretty much knew where everything was after about half a day. I had already gone through my schedule and walked to all my classes in orientation, so I already knew where everything was. And once I figured out the number system for the classrooms, I could pretty much tell you where anything was based on the room number.

I was also mildly scared because the class of 2023 was getting a lot of hate on social media. And by hate, I mean everyone was making fun of us for being VSCO girls and wearing scrunchies and Birkenstocks. To be fair, throughout the school year, a remarkable number of hydro flasks were dropped in the hallways. But aside from that, no upperclassmen really gave me a hard time, honestly at any point during my high school career. So, if you've watched one too many movies about high school culture, do not worry. If you don't make a scene, no one is going to bother you.

When it came to academics, during my freshman year, I was in all honors classes and one AP class. That class was AP Human Geography. To this day, I think that is the most work I've ever had to do for an AP class. It was chapters upon chapters of notes assigned every night, and the entire class period was just taken up by the teacher talking and us note-taking on her lectures. It was definitely more work than I ever had to do in middle school, but somehow, I managed. Between school volleyball in that class, my first semester was tough. In hindsight, I am glad I took human geography because it prepared me for all the future AP classes I would take. The rest of my honors classes treated me well. They were all doable, they just required paying attention in class and doing the homework. Coping for me looked like taking necessary time off to just be on my phone or read a book I was interested in or play volleyball or something. The last thing you need to happen is to burn out.

The last thing I'll address is social life. I'm the kind of person who is an extrovert around people I'm comfortable with, but an introvert around people I'm not. I feel like this is a common type of personality to have. coming from middle school, there was only a handful of my friends who were going to the same high school as me. I knew realistically that I couldn't depend on my small circle to be with me throughout the entire day, so I knew I would have to make some new friends. Lunch was the most nerve-wracking part of my first day of freshman year. I didn't know anyone in my lunch beside a girl I had made friends with over a volleyball summer camp. So, we sat down anxiously at a table by ourselves, and we waited. After about 10 minutes, a girl came and sat down at the table. Then another girl, then a boy, then another boy. We were all freshmen, and we all introduced ourselves to each other. It was honestly relieving to see that there were other people who were nervous about making friends in the same way I was. To this day, I am still super close friends with the girls who sat at the table that day. One of the guys left after like a week, but nobody really cared. The point is, you'll have plenty of opportunities to meet new people and make new friends. So don't expect to rely on your current middle school friend group to make it through the first and second semesters. After the first week, the nerves went away, and I've never felt them since. I know it's super cliche, but after a little while, everything is most likely going to be fine. Naturally, there are exceptions, but if you're in the lucky majority like I was, freshman year will be a breeze. So don't worry too much.

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