The Oarsman

Tips for Freshman Year

Freshman+year+can+be+daunting%2C+especially+for+first+generation+high+school+students.
Freshman year can be daunting, especially for first generation high school students.

Freshman year can be daunting, especially for first generation high school students.

Desmond Andersen

Desmond Andersen

Freshman year can be daunting, especially for first generation high school students.

Julissa Ventureno, Editor in Chief

Ah, yes. I remember my first year at Venice with the excitement of a new beginning. I’m a senior now, but I clearly recall my many should-haves and mistakes of not only my freshman year, but all three of my previous years.

As immigrants from Mexico, my parents never had the chance to go to high school and they couldn’t give me any tips about it. So to help those just like me or anyone who needs an extra helping hand, here is my guide to high school.

#1  Concentrate on grades. It may be your first year, but trust me, it still counts. You can (and should) go to fun school events and hang out with friends. Simply don’t jeopardize your grades while doing this. Also, challenge yourself in classes. Take at least two honors classes every year and one or more AP classes after freshman year.

#2  Put passion and effort into everything. Don’t do stuff just so it can look good on college apps! If you are not interested in, for example, Biology, then maybe AP Biology isn’t the best class for you. The amount of passion you have for a class will determine the amount of motivation you have to pass the class. Also, high school is a great time to start making connections. In the future, if a teacher remembers you putting a lot of effort in your classwork, they can possibly hook you up with a great letter of recommendation or a possible internship with their friends.

#3  Apply to CSF Delphians every semesterCSF Delphians, a honor society, recognizes students who maintain good grades every semester. You may receive a seal on your diploma, as well as chords for the graduation ceremony if you qualify for four semesters. I had no idea I could apply to this when I first came to Venice. If you have the grades and classes for it, go to Room 204 for an application!

#4  Ask for help. In every class, you should have at least one classmate’s number. This is helpful in forming a study group where you can support each other when you are absent and need notes or when you need help with homework. I also suggest going to tutoring. There is usually tutoring in the library at Venice High after school or go to your local library or family center that may offer similar services.

#5  Be nice. To everyone. Especially to teachers. They control your grades and what you’ll experience for about seven hours a day and five days a week. Plus, they work very hard to teach young people and they obviously deserve to be treated with respect. Be nice to students. You never know what someone is going through. Treat others how you want to be treated, right?

#6  Go to the College Center at least once a month! Scholarships, internships, community service events, and more! The College Center is a very resourceful place and you want your college counselor to at least know your name and face by the time you are a senior. This is the same with your school counselor.

#7  Join two clubs. Unfortunately, when I was a freshman, I didn’t know that clubs where something colleges look for. Find out what the clubs are at Venice and join at least two. Ideally, they should be clubs you can join for the next four years. Why? Colleges love when you show commitment and growth. If you are in a club for 4 years, you will probably have a higher position in said club as the years pass.  One should be a social club where you can make friends and de-stress. Another club should be about a skill you are interested in like film, robotics, etc.

#8  Don’t be pressured by your friends. Are your actions going to get you closer to your goal or further away? Don’t do drugs or alcohol. You will see people doing them, maybe even some of your friends. But ask yourself why you might be tempted and is it really worth it? (The answer: it’s not worth it!) Don’t date until you are ready! You should concentrate on yourself and know who you are before you let your partner boss you around! This can apply to friends. Drop fake friends. A fake friend is someone who doesn’t care for your well-being, who doesn’t care about your future, will push you towards choices that are bad for you, talks behind your back and insults you and makes you feel low. Beware of them. You should decide to be friends with people who encourage you and make you feel empowered.

#9  Sleep, sleep, sleep! Sleep is very important to keep your body and mind healthy. Plus a rested brain helps you learn more. So when you have to decide between a YouTube Video or sleep… choose sleep. Your body and grades will thank you.

#10  Don’t depend on people. Be independent. It’s hard. But it’s real life.  Nobody else will do your homework or make sure you are volunteering. When you make poor decisions about your school or friends or do your assignments late or incorrectly, that’s on you, so make sure that you know that being an independent person means that you take full responsibility for your actions. Admit to your mistakes, then learn from them.

#11  Self-care is important! When doing homework or studying, take a break every hour or so: walk around, get a snack, do light exercise, watch a small video, just move your body! During finals week or midterms, have a night to yourself: do face masks, sleep early, watch a movie, relax!

That’s my short list of things that I didn’t know about until it was too late. You’ll make mistakes like I did like everyone did, but make sure to keep rowing not drifting. And welcome to Venice High School, Gondoliers.

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