October 2016 (Volume 67, Issue 1)
by Anisha Mishra, columnist
Dear 9th grader,
I want to start off by saying that this is not your average “Classified 9th grade survival tips” or “How to get through high school 101.” I am here to teach you how to conquer your fears and get your head in the game. High school can be a variety of things: tedious, exhausting, social, worrisome, and the classic, fun. It is easy to let your guard down and trudge through the halls, wanting desperately to be anywhere else but in school. Yes, this is certainly an option, but would you rather the time go by fast, or grudgingly slow? I thought so. Here we go.
First off: talk to upperclassmen. As a freshman, you probably have already experienced your fair share of embarrassing moments walking into the wrong class, trying to seek your friends in a crowded cafeteria, or even accidentally slamming into a peer during passing time, only to have your arm ache for the rest of the day and possibly a shattered phone screen. I speak from personal experience. I know upperclassmen, such as myself, can seem intimidating, and the last thing you want is to receive the wrong directions and end up at the other side of the school and late to class. Although this is possible, talking to a junior or senior can help you gain insight on how to approach certain difficulties throughout your four years here at Needham High School.
The second piece of advice I would give you is one I can not stress more: DO NOT WASTE TIME. Being a freshman, you have a single directed study. HA HA. That stinks. I remember those days. Just kidding. My point is, during your study I would urge you to complete as much homework as you can. Even in your first year, you may be forced into completing more assignments than you had intended, especially if you are taking high level classes. Do not procrastinate on long term projects, just do not.
Number three: There isn’t a pool on the roof at Needham High School. Some of you, reading this, may think I’m an idiot for pointing that out. But do not be mistaken; the number of rising freshman that have asked me, being a swimmer, if practice is being held on the upper floor, is just amazing and frankly kind of sad. So no, there is no pool at Needham High School (I really think that our school should invest in one, but that’s just my personal opinion.) Please don’t be fooled, as you will be made fun of.
Numero quatro: Sign up for a high school sport. 9th graders, if you think you are too busy for extracurriculars, think again. Just wait until your junior year. In reality, playing a sport can: 1) help you “get your head in the game”; 2) it looks good on college apps (you probably think I’m shallow for saying that, but you are thinking it too); and 3) it is a great way to stay active and social. Get a group of friends to join a club or a sport; it makes it all that much more fun. Really, it’s a win-win situation. There are three seasons of sports and even participating in one season can’t harm you much. Clubs are year round and are also a great way to meet new people. Make sure you attend the orientation coming up to decide which clubs you want to sign up for.
My last note for you would be to KNOW YOUR FRIENDS’ SCHEDULES. That sounds rather creepy, but you don’t want to be stuck in a lunch where you are sitting with people you hardly know. As the year progresses, you will realize that you have actually memorized your own schedule, but you haven’t. Come second half of year, the lunches will switch and you will be back to square one. As long as you have one or two friends in each class, you are all set. If not, I really would advise you to have companions from other classes send you their schedules if they haven’t already.
By following these helpful tips and having a positive attitude even though, yes, it’s another school year, you can be assured that your freshman year will be one you’ll never forget. Hopefully by reading this you have gained some insight into how to approach what may one of the biggest jumps in your life. If you’re scared, well, you should be. But remember, high school is a game. Play the cards right (take my advice) and you’re in for the win.