Advice for underclassmen: you’re going to want to read this

Our advice to you: Seniors give out words of wisdom to freshmen

I prefer not to dwell on memories from my freshman year. I was awkward, still had that ridiculous middle-schoolesque humor, and I was ambivalent about school. Today as a senior, I am receiving the final rounds of college admission letters. I look back on freshman year and wish someone had given me the mature advice I desperately needed.

So listen up underclassmen, this is the best advice the class of 2015 can give to you as you gaze at college on the horizon. Four years seems like eternity – until you are faced with the end of it.

I. Academics

As your eyes gloss over in World History and you struggle with Molecular Biology work, understand that this year’s academics DO count. The seniors who reminisce on those orange-shirt day are in general agreement: they all had low GPAs freshman year, which pulled down any GPA improvement they made subsequent years. This is rated the #1 mistake all high school freshmen make.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 7.45.38 am

Think you are too far gone into your year to recover? Speaking from experience, it will be okay. College playbook says, “Colleges do not like to see grades go down during each high school year.” It indicates immaturity and a likelihood that a student will continue their downfall into college. My high school counselor, Mrs. Infante, continuously advised me to show improvement. An increase in your yearly GPA says the opposite of laziness and immaturity. It shows growth in a student as they transition into their young adult years. In order to recover from those early freshmen grades, promise to show greater improvement subsequent years. Just remember the looming words of Howard Chan: “The GPA you set yourself freshman year will follow you to senior year.”

II. Sports and Activities

The initial freshman impulse is to join every service club and every JV team. By the later years of high school, they believe they will be drenched in varsity opportunities and officer positions.

While that type of forward thinking isn’t bad, it’s not great either. Hyper-involved Sophia Eristoff warns not to “join every service club unless you want to – it’s not worth the class load.”

Not only is it not worth the class load, the truth is that most freshmen drop clubs by their sophomore year either because of disinterest or because they are too involved in other clubs. You have a better likelihood of becoming an officer or leader if Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 7.45.52 amyou show consistent devotion to a few clubs. Senior Officer of Freedom Foundations and National Dance Honor Society, Catie Lee, looks for future presidents who “show constant activity in the club over the span of years. Also, we tend to look for people who take initiative in creative processes and decision making, rather than people who just follow basic instruction.”

The biggest recommendation from our senior athletes was to take a summer camp. As IASAS regular Tess Nelligan puts it, “Practice, practice, practice, because that’s how you get better.”

But summer camps take time, time some would rather spend sun bathing or traveling. However, according to Dessert News, “a talented kid can receive a Division I… scholarship without going to camps, but it is the exception, not the rule.”

Don’t get bogged down the the competition. While that sounds like something your mom or dad might preach, seniors feel the same way. Four year IASAS softball player Daniel Brundage said to “have fun and enjoy spending time playing sports at SAS. Whether it be JV or varsity. Enjoy forming long lasting bonds with your teammates and coaches. And make memories that you will always cherish.”

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III. Social Life

You will spend four years with your class. Take it from us, you grow some serious bonds in the end. The social road in high school can be scenic but turbulent. While we attend a school that prides itself on involvement and community, our class populations can seem seriously divided. In the span of that four years, be nice to everyone – you don’t know who you could become close to.

But when you take into account others around you, don’t forget to take account of yourself. Clemence Morin counsels, “I know it is hard to stay true to yourself, but don’t give into peer pressure. Pretending to be someone you’re not in the long run is not imperative.”

Some of us find ourselves stumbling into relationships during our underclassmen days. Let’s not make this awkward for you or me, just follow Emma Gammon’s sage, motherly advice:  “You get stressed about grades and boys, but nothing is more important than a true friend.”

When asked what freshmen should look forward to, here were the top five responses:

  1. PromScreen Shot 2015-03-10 at 7.45.30 am
  2. Graduation
  3. IASAS
  4. Bonding with friends
  5. Clubs/Activities

You have four years in front of you: enjoy them. They will be filled with ups and down, but it’s your job to make them count. From the class of 2015 to you – good luck.

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