What to Expect Your Freshman Year of High School

Welcome to your freshman year of high school! Junior high (or middle school for some) is now behind you, and now you enter a whole new world with the "big kids." But what should you expect your freshman year of high school? Knowing what to expect before you walk through those doors can help you reduce the stress and anxiety of entering into 9th grade where everything seems so foreign to you.

Seniors Seem Really Big

Group of Students with Backpacks Walking to School
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When you first enter high school you're just out of junior high and 18 seems so very, very far away. The seniors will walk in with a swagger. They're in their last year, and they know the system. They have an understanding of the school that you don't, and you can see it in their confidence and excitement about being at the top of the high school ladder. Of course, as a newbie, that means you can be a little intimidated by the seniors. However, there are two things to remember: they were once where you were and one day you will be one of those seniors. Maybe it doesn't make them seem any less cool or important but may make you less intimidated.

Getting to Class Seems to Require GPS

High schools tend to be larger than any other school you've ever attended. Often they seem to require a GPS to get from place to place. It's important to take orientation days seriously so you can find your way around. Take your schedule and walk it a few times before the first day of school. Set up your locker early so you're not scrambling Day 1. Your freshman year of high school is full of new experiences, so the more you know going in, the more comfortable you'll feel faster.

You're Going to Make New Friends

Making new friends is both exciting and intimidating in high school. You'll be taking classes with people you've never met before who have whole new world views. You're not guaranteed that your friends will share your lunch or study hall so keep yourself open to finding others to sit with during those times. Other freshmen will be going through the same situation as you, and they'll need someone to sit with. If you see another freshman struggling, open up a seat for them at your table. God asks us to watch out for one another, even in high school. Also, when you're making new friends, be sure to be a little discerning. You want to make sure you're surrounding yourself with others who will respect your faith and your choices.

Teachers Expect More

When you went from 6th grade to middle school, you saw your coursework change to where it was more challenging. You can expect your freshman year that it won't be much different. Your coursework will increase significantly, and expectations from your teachers will be much greater than it was before. You'll have more homework, more papers, and harder exams. Learning how to study well is incredibly important in high school.

There's a Ton More Opportunities to Do and Learn Things

One of the great things about high school is that there are so many more opportunities to get involved in activities that interest you. From choosing your electives to extracurricular activities, this is the time for you to start exploring your interests. You can expect your freshman year to choose a number of activities that interest you. Getting involved in extracurricular activities allows you to meet new people, find out what you're interested in, and explore more of who you are.

You Need to Be More Organized

With all the new opportunities, you will need to be more organized during your freshman year. It's not always easy to balance homework, tests, papers, before-school activities, after-school activities, church activities, chores, and more. Yet realize that, if you start learning how to balance it all now, you'll be way ahead of the curve when you get to college and adulthood. Organizing your time is a skill that will help you in every facet of your life.

There's More Peer Pressure

Temptations abound in high school. This is really the time that relationships get more serious, parties get a little crazier, and teens start experimenting with alcohol and drugs. You should expect your freshman year to be full of all new kinds of temptations and a great deal of peer pressure to do and experiment with new things that may call your faith into question. While you want to make friends, you will need to decide sometimes if popularity or your relationship with God is more important then fitting in. Knowing how to overcome temptations can be key to continuing to walk in faith during a critical year in high school.

There Will Be Change

The key to making your freshman year successful is to know that there will be change, no matter what. High school is a whole new experience -- it's harder but more rewarding. You are growing up and moving forward, and any time that happens, change comes. Accept and embrace the change. For the most part, the change is good. If expect your freshman year to be full of change, it will make the transition far easier.