Things I Wish I Knew as a Freshman

February 24, 2016

Having school spirit doesn’t make you less cool.

Once you reach your senior year, a strange feeling takes over. You reflect on the three years you spent dreading attending pep rallies, and you realize that number of times you see the cheerleaders, Chatonettes and Variations perform is dwindling. You realize that after this year, you will not attend another homecoming game at Tropical Park with your friends. You realize that for the past three years you have mumbled the alma mater and feebly held up two, three or four fingers at pep rallies, feeling awkward for wanting to do so with pride. The last thing you want to do your senior year is regret not doing something for the past three years. Take advantage of being able to preempt your own actions, and appreciate your school. Cheer at pep rallies, dress up for spirit week, and know that you should be proud to be a panther.

Get to know your teachers, they’re humans too.

I know, it is a wildly foreign concept, but it is true. Your teachers have families and social lives and hobbies, find out what they are. If you’re genuinely disinterested in knowing about their lives, at least treat them like humans. Tell them to have a good day. Ask them how their weekend was. A little bit of kindness goes a long way.

Have your admit filled out BEFORE you get in line to get it excused.        

You have three full school days to get absences excused, so that makes six opportunities to do so. Once each day before first period, and once each day during your lunch. On your first day back, go during one of those times and pick up a blank admit sheet. Fill it out so that the next day you will not have to fumble for a pen and uncomfortably write in your information all while not trying to lose your spot in line. Also, have your ID card with you. No matter how many times you smile at Ms. Macdonald and tell her to have a good day, she will not make an exception for you.

Study for your AP exams.

From the time that you got recommended for an Advanced Placement course, teachers and counsellors told you that it was a college-level class. They may have also informed you that the said class counted for college credit, which is true. Many colleges and universities award you multiple credit hours for each passing score (three or higher) you earn. For example, the University of Florida gives three credit hours for getting a three on most exams, and six credit hours for getting a four or five. These scores translate to your parents having to pay less for your college education. Long story short, do everything you can to pass your AP exams; your parents will thank you.

School wifi is your friend, not your enemy.

Although Miami Dade County Public Schools revoked your snapchat privileges, the wifi they provide you with a solid platform from which you can check your grades during the school day without draining your battery by searching for signal.

You earn your grades.

There is one person in control of your grade point average, and that person is not your teacher. Sometimes you will finish with an 88 or a 3.49, but you learn more from accepting the grade and knowing to work harder the next quarter than begging your teacher for an override that you did not earn.

Attending a sporting event or show at school will not kill you.

Your classmates are talented. Support them. Win or lose, you are as much of a panther as they are. They will notice you in the bleachers or in the audience, trust me.

It will all work out in the end. If it has not worked out, it is not the end.

I am sure that someone somewhere should be credited for this quote, but it is perfectly applicable to high school. Friendships start and end, tests get passed and failed, and colleges will accept or reject you. Things work out as they will, and you will get through it.

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Things I Wish I Knew as a Freshman