Upperclassmen advice to freshmen

Gustavo De Oliveira, a junior at Leesville Road High School (left), gives directions to a freshman. Freshman, in most circumstances, are clueless on the first day of school. But with assistance from their peers, their high school career can be a lot more comfortable. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Jumma)

High school is one of the most difficult times in a teenager’s life. Although some proceed through its challenges to pursue college, many drop out due to factors such as family and  money issues. Other times, students feel overwhelmed and fail their classes. When students enter freshman year, they are the youngest in the flock, which means that they are also severely influenced by their older peers, which can lead the younger students to make negative choices that they are not mature enough to make.

The first year of high school might seem difficult to some students. However upperclassmen argue that freshman year is the easiest.

“My favorite thing about freshman year was the fact that I didn’t take AP classes, and didn’t take many hard classes, so I think freshman year is the easiest overall,” said Ilaha Razai, a senior at Leesville Road High School.

Starting at a new school is difficult for everyone, especially when trying to adjust to the new surroundings. When first starting high school, “I wish I knew the school  a little better, kind of like the backways and shortcuts, and also the teachers,” said Razai.

As a freshman, Jacob Mareno knew what to expect when he stepped into Leesville on the first day of school, as he had older sisters that attended the school. “The best advice I received [from them] would be not to get too worked up and just go with the flow. Going unnoticed is a lot better than negative attention,” said Mareno.

Although starting a new school is difficult, transferring from a private school to a public school can be even more difficult. “My biggest fear heading into freshman year would probably be switching from private to public school without many of my old friends. I had to start from scratch,” said Mareno, who attended the Franciscan School for middle school.

Upperclassmen also have experienced the difficulty of college applications and know the basic characteristics a college is searching for. Clubs are a huge part of any college application form, and most top universities look for a well-rounded student that not only meets their expectations but exceeds them.

Mareno is most intimidated by the thought of college applications, even though it’s only his first year of high school. Razai knows a thing a two about college applications since both her older siblings had to complete them. “I would say, get involved now because I didn’t really start getting involved in clubs until sophomore year and learn good study habits, starting from now,” said Razai.

Older siblings have a great impact on students in all aspects. “My older sisters (classes of 2015, 2017, and 2019) have a lot of influence over my high school experience. I have many of the same classes and teachers that they had and [they] give me lots of pointers,” said Mareno.

Gustavo De Oliveira, a junior at Leesville Road High School, agreed with Mareno about the effect that older siblings have. “My favorite thing about freshman year was spending my school year with my older brother,” said Oliveira.

Another big factor is that most incoming freshmen are usually not prepared for the stress of big tests like the SAT and ACT. Although high schooler’s do take classes during prep time, they are expected to fit all projects and homework into that time frame.

“Study a lot, get a good night sleep and just take a shower beforehand so you feel comfortable taking the test,” said Razai. De Oliveira agreed with Razai, and also mentioned not to leave studying to the last minute, because you might end up feeling overwhelmed and not do as well as you wanted to.

As a junior, De Oliveira knows what it is like to go through freshman year.“I’d like to tell freshman at leesville to live their life to the fullest, and don’t really mind what people say to you or think about you. Just do you,” said De Oliveira.

In the first year of high school, freshmen don’t know what they want their future to be or what they need to achieve in order to be successful. However, tips from upperclassmen will surely assist them in making their high school years successful.


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