Freshman year is full of new opportunities! High school courses, clubs, homework, sports, and your calendar are all central to your day. You are busy running from place to place and activity to activity. But wait!
Hmmm… classes suggest teachers, clubs mean friends, and sports usually involve teammates and coaches. So, your school day is full of people – many folks – all playing different roles in your life.
This is the year to choose the winning team: Team You. Putting together your personal team is important because our connections to others help us to become successful and happy. Teachers, counselors, friends, parents, siblings, coaches, and others all have gifts and expertise that can help you be you. For example, you could find a friend with an interest in, say, ping-pong, start to play together, and then build a team. From starting with just you and your friend, you could have a doubles competition in no time, and before you know it, you could have a ping-pong club. The same idea can work with teachers. For example, you could ask your teachers to clarify homework assignments or particularly difficult concepts in math, which would ease the stress of having to guess at the assignment when you are doing your homework in the evening. Freshman year is the perfect time to create your team—a network of people that will help you shape a great first year.
Here are a few ways to start building:
Put yourself out there. Find people who share your interests and challenge yourself to go outside your comfort zone. Your peer group is important, so choose yours wisely.
You may be successful working by yourself, but great success often involves the support of others. Coaches and counselors are there for you. Ask for help when you run into trouble. Carefully read or listen to your teachers’ comments. Meet upper-class students and ask them for advice, since they have already lived through the first year.
Identify the teachers who seem to be a good match for you. You might mesh with their learning style or relate to the teacher who leads the school newspaper or film club. Getting to know your teachers will help you stay focused naturally as well as be engaged with those around you.
Sometimes, we are so accustomed to our family dynamics that we forget to see what they can offer us in new situations. Be prepared to invite their comments and listen to their observations. After all, they know you better than anyone else.
Your first year of high school is always exciting and often nerve-wracking. Plan wisely and use the people and resources in your life to your best advantage.