Freshman survival guide: 10 tips for the first day of school

By Erin McGovern

Associate Editor-in-Chief

       Walking onto Prospect High School’s campus for the first time is a moment you should never forget. While it is exciting, there are always the certain myths and fears that plague the minds of incoming freshmen. To make the beginning of your high school experience enjoyable, follow these 10 tips from a senior who has had three years of seeing it all.

       1. Wear the right outfit. First impressions aren’t everything, but they are important if you don’t want your first conversation with a teacher to be a lecture. As far as the dress code is concerned, having the entire class know your name by the end of the first day just because you made a bad choice in clothes is never a good thing. Find something in your closet that is comfortable and fits your style, and needless to say (I hope), covers everything. Prospect’s hallways are not a runway, so girls don’t make the regrettable decision of wearing a homecoming-style dress and heels. With everything else you will be worrying about the first day, don’t add your wardrobe to the list.

       2. Don’t wear your gym shirt to school. The most common stressor on freshmen their first day is being on time. There is a reason we have seven minutes to change for gym, so don’t make the mistake of trying to save time by walking around in those blue and gray fashion statements. While it’s true that wearing it around all day will guarantee you aren’t late for gym, it definitely isn’t worth the looks you’ll get in the hallway.

       3. Don’t carry your locker on your back. As intimidating as a new building can be for a new student, Prospect isn’t big enough to prevent you from making it to your locker. Even if you haven’t walked your schedule until now, you will without a doubt be able to find your way around in the five-minute passing period. Even with the new iPads that your lucky generation received, you will probably be given rather heavy textbooks, guaranteeing back pain and accelerated aging if you don’t use your locker.  Remember, your locker is your friend–let it lighten your load.

       4. Don’t leave your locker unlocked. Yes, built-in combination locks can be scary for a freshman trying to get to class on time, but they should not intimidate you to the point of not locking up your things. Clearly, if you all passed the eighth grade, you can open a combination lock. A motto at Prospect is “If you like it, lock it,” and it couldn’t be more important. If you let your locker frighten you to the point of leaving it unlocked, all of your money for the next year could very well be spent on replacing textbooks and iPads. These items are expensive, and regardless, I’m betting you’ll soon find it’s coffee you want to spend that money on.

       5. Find your friends before you go to lunch. I’m sure of all the classes you and your friends could have together, lunch is the one you asked them about first. Everyone wants to have a place to sit at lunch, and don’t worry, you will. Just make your life easier for yourself and find someone to walk in with so you aren’t standing with your lunch at the front of the lunchroom and scanning for a familiar face.

       6. Take the most convenient staircase. One of the most common myths that get stuck in a freshman’s head is don’t take the main staircase to class because you’ll get swallowed up in the sea of people and never make it to class on time. Regardless of the fact that this statement is way over-exaggerated, it has some truth in it. Yes, the main staircase is busy, but so are all of the stairs within the first 30 seconds after the bell rings. Clearly, if everyone avoided the main staircase, it wouldn’t be so busy, so don’t try to avoid one path just because it’s congested with people. Don’t worry-with time you’ll find the fastest route for your schedule.

       7. Be social. With every class that goes by, you will meet new people that you can say you know. So when you see them in the hallway on their way to a different class, make sure you say hi to them and show them you remember talking to them. In a new place, everyone is looking to make new friends so don’t be afraid to greet familiar faces–not only will it help you create new relationships, but it will also cheer up a fellow freshman who is just as worried about their first day as you are.

       8. Remember where you sit. While every hallway and classroom may look the same to you on your first day, chances are you will have an assigned seat in a different spot in every room. Make sure to take note of where you sit so that the next day, you aren’t the kid who awkwardly stands at the front of the room until everyone sits down and then runs to the empty desk. Remember who sits around you so when you come in on your second day of school, you’ll find where you sat and be that much more familiar with your schedule.

       9.Write things down. That is the only way to ensure you don’t forget important dates or assignments. There is a reason you were all given your own Prospect assignment notebook. Use it.

       10. Be confident. As improbable as it is that you will show confidence your first day, take this tip seriously. If you avoid eye contact with all living things or find it difficult to open your mouth when others address you, it will be obvious that you are a freshman. Remember, no one else will know you are lost unless you show it on your face–you are the only one who knows your schedule. The best part about being a freshman is that you have four years ahead of you at Prospect–a place that is going to become your second home. Enjoy the time you have here because it will go fast, and you will think back to your first day and laugh about how little there was to worry about.