8 Critical Things You HAVE to Do During Freshman Year of High School

If there was a single theme song to capture all the feels of freshman year of high school, it would definitely be "Changes" by David Bowie.

Not only have you gone from being the top dogs of your middle school to the bottom of the social food chain once again, but you also have to navigate the entirely new world of high school without making too many social faux pas.

Harry and Ron Studying

(Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone via Warner Bros.)

While your freshman year might not make or break your high school experience, it can set the stage for the next four years of your life.

To make sure you make the most out of your freshman year, keep scrolling for eight critical things you have to do.

Meet New People

Whether you entered high school with a firmly established friend group or you're a bit of a lone wolf, freshman year is the best time to meet new people. Starting high school is a big change, and the sudden adjustment is bound to make everyone a little more open to new experiences and new friendships. You don't have to become best friends with everyone you meet, and you definitely don't have to leave your old friends behind, but meeting new people will help you to feel much more established and comfortable at your school. Plus, new friends are never a bad thing.

Betty and Cheryl at School

(Riverdale via The CW)

Check Out All the Clubs

Some people are totally obsessed with after-school clubs, while others wouldn't dare set foot in a post-school activity. Whichever category you might fall into, you should at least look into the clubs your school offers during freshman year. There are all kinds of activities available that speak to all kinds of people, and you might find something that you genuinely love. You don't have to force yourself to join a club that you're not interested in, but if you find something you like, it can be a great way to bond with new people and fill up some of your free time.

Focus on Yourself

There are few times in your life when you get the excuse to be a little selfish, and freshman year is one of them. It's a chance to start new, free from the pressures or mistakes of the past that can weigh you down. Focus on what you want. If you want to explore a hobby you've never done before, go for it! If you want to try out for that sport you've always been scared of, do it! Freshman year is a renewed chance to figure out what you like and what you want, so it's okay to take a little time to focus on yourself.

Don't Slack Off on Your School Work

During your first year of high school, senior year, graduation and everything that follows can feel like it's miles into the future. However, it's important that you don't slack off during your freshman year in regards to your school work. Freshman year of high school is the first time grades actually start to matter. Your grades don't define who you are, but the work ethic and motivation that you develop during your freshman year can have a big impact on your future. Don't shrug off the importance of your school work now because your senior-year self will definitely regret it.

Gabriella From HSM in Front of a Chalkboard

(High School Musical via Disney Channel)

Explore Your Own Preferences

Sometimes it can be a little too easy to follow the flow of the crowd. You might try out for a sport because your BFF wants to, or join a club because you know your crush is interested in it. Although it's nice to stay firmly in your comfort zone, it's also important to explore your own interests during freshman year. Don't allow your friends to define you—look for your own niche and pursue things you actually enjoy. You might even find your life's passion in the process.

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

There's about a 99.9% chance that things are going to go wrong during your freshman year. Your crush probably won't ask you to the dance, you'll likely get in a fight with your BFF about something petty and you're bound to deal with a few highly embarrassing moments—it's what growing up is all about. No matter how heartbreaking something might feel at the time, try not to sweat the small stuff. If you get too caught up in the tiny details, you'll miss the things about your life that are truly amazing. The little stuff will work itself out, so try to enjoy the new season of your life—even when things aren't totally going your way.

Keep an Open Mind

People are meant to change over the course of their lives, and high school is one major time where you'll see a huge shift in your preferences. Change can be totally scary and nerve-racking, but the best way to handle it is to keep an open mind. Closing yourself off to new experiences also limits your ability to grow and evolve. If freshman year starts to feel a little overwhelming, remember that things aren't supposed to be the same as they always have been, and keep yourself open to the changes that are coming.

Aria and Emily in Class

(Pretty Little Liars via Freeform)

Enjoy Yourself

Despite the pressure and worry you might feel, freshman year is the best time to totally kick back and enjoy yourself. Your classes are often less demanding than they are in later high school years and you're not yet swamped with the pressures of planning out your entire future. It's the ideal time to find the things you love, hang out with people you care about and truly enjoy all the perks that come with growing up. Don't let it all slip by—live in the present and soak in the good, the bad and the ugly because you're guaranteed to miss it all someday.



Does the first year of high school have you totally stressed out? Click HERE to find out why you really shouldn't worry about freshman year.