I’ll admit it, my first day of freshman year was pretty rough. Breaking out of my tiny security blanket that was the Jamesburg public school system and being placed directly out of my comfort zone (Hello, Monroe Township High!) was a nightmare.
The closest thing we had to technology in Grace M. Breckwedel Middle School was a slide projector from the 70s that we used in science class to view equally ancient pictures from National Geographic. Now, every class had a digital projector, a computer and a DVD player- AND we all got iPads. It was literally a real life version of “The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones”.
I barely knew anyone. I still thought it was acceptable to wear brightly colored jeans and I was miserable. Sound familiar, freshmen?
Now, I’m not going to force that “It gets better!” crap down your throat because — let’s be real — it doesn’t. But I will share with you a few things I’ve learned here that might help you out.
Literally no one cares what you look like. I spent the first few years of high school spending hours straightening my hair, doing my makeup and picking out what to wear. Somewhere around junior year I started slacking a little, and realized there was no difference in how people perceived me at all – whether I had a full face of makeup on or not. This is why you can tell someone is a senior here when they have tired, lifeless eyes and pajamas on – they have realized this fact as well.
Skipping school is OK. I can’t even begin to count how many times I have bawled my eyes out in front of a blank Microsoft Word document at three in the morning (Thank you, junior year!). Everyone has a breaking point and high school does a great job of bringing us there. It took me awhile to realize taking a mental health break is imperative to surviving high school. Mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted? Don’t go in. No test, paper or project is worth having an anxiety attack over.
Fall in love. Or don’t. Because of science and hormones and other biology related things (Mr. O, I sincerely apologize for retaining little to no information from your class.), it is natural to see people making out all over this place (Whether we want to or not! Gotta love it!). Every book, movie and song on this Earth romanticizes teenage love and heartbreak. It happens suddenly: You meet someone, you become obsessed with each other and soon you start posting pictures all over the place with “#LoveofMyLife” as the caption. Now I don’t know if ya’ll have heard of a thing called “college,” but it is the reason there is about a 99.9 percent chance you definitely have not met the love of your life, nor are you dating them. But it is important to have fun, however, and kissing people can be really fun. Love people, make mistakes, learn and be better.
Stay in your lane. I am a firm believer in this phrase and I think it applies to nearly every aspect of life. Do you, honey! I don’t even know what it means to be “cool” anymore, just because it does not matter at all. Wear whatever you want, do whatever you want, talk to whoever you want — make yourself happy. Accept who you are, and don’t try to change yourself in order to please anyone or fit in. Once you do this, you will be the happiest, most confident version of yourself. WERK IT, FLAWLESS.
Few friends are forever. By the time you are a senior, you’re probably going to have about one third of the friends you started with freshman year. I’m here to tell you that is a good thing! No one can simultaneously tolerate and make everyone happy. Having a close-knit group means less drama and more love. My crew consists of three lovely ladies and I could not be happier. Find the people who show you as much love and respect as you show them because it is important to get what you give.
I could go on forever but they don’t pay me enough here to do that (Just joking, I should be paying to have my dumb opinions plastered all over this website). No matter what BS I spew in this article, you’re going to do whatever you want; I just hope that you really enjoy your high school experience because it really does go by quickly. Sure, you won’t miss physics homework, or waking up at six am or even the annual pep rallies, but you will miss the people. Most of all, yourself. You are only this young once, you only have so many chances to be a stupid 16-year-old.
How will you make it count?