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Jun 26 2017
by Madison Atkinson

10 Things I Would Tell My High School Freshman Self

By Madison Atkinson - Jun 26 2017
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Retrospect is the best kind of vision. Just as we can look back at history and critique it incessantly, we can also pick apart ourselves at perhaps our most vulnerable age. Being freshmen in high school sets us up for a new world of influence, both good and bad, and the possibility to begin shaping ourselves into the kind of young person we’d like to be remembered as. Personally, I turned out a bit differently than I began, but change is a sign of growth and growth eventually breeds an end result. I would have grown into myself much faster had my present self been there to help me along as a high school freshman, so these are a few things I would have told myself.

1. Freshman year is not the end all be all.

Half of my friends reflect and regard freshman year as pure fun. Sure, the classes were full of mild work, football games were weekly and dances stood before us down the road with the greatest excitement in our hopeful hearts. But for me, freshman year looking back was characterized by constant nerves, fear of not having enough friends and not being as outgoing as I would have liked. But the good thing is that I don’t sit around a table with my fellow graduated classmates thinking about what we were like four years ago. We all grow and we judge each other by what we are now, rather than then.


2. For that matter, HIGH SCHOOL is not the end all be all.

It is easy to get caught up in something without imagining life down the line. Fortunately, I realized that high school was not the time of my life and that many a good time would lie farther down the road. It was fun, of course, and I made some fabulous friends, but I still ardently looked forward to the rest of my life, knowing that there were better times to be had. Popularity was never an end goal for me, nor should it be anyone else's. 


3. Don’t waste your time hunting for popularity.

Because you must really have nothing else to do. Those who constantly seek attention and love tend to be the most insecure. They don’t know how the rest of their lives will pan out, so they figure it’s best to peak at that time. If popularity follows you because you are truly great to be around, then I don’t blame you because that is the best way to be remembered. But if your circumstances render you less known because the “popular” people are only regarded infamously, then don’t even bother.


4. Don’t be embarrassed of your family.

Or the family minivan, for that matter. Everyone has to be driven around the first year or two of high school, and no one is really judging you for it despite what your melodramatic mind tells you. Everyone has a family, and you can’t pick them so you might as well love them and not act like you don’t know them as soon as someone remotely your age walks by.


5. You probably won’t be the most proud of your appearance freshman year.

Your friends and peers will think since makeup and flat irons are at their dispense, they are using it to the best of their ability. Well, come senior year, they will scroll through their old Instagram feed and feel quite embarrassed. Once again, hindsight is 20/20, and even though you thought while getting ready for your first high school party you were doing a good job, you probably weren’t. So enjoy looking back three years later and maybe laughing at what you thought was a makeup masterpiece because it makes for some good memories.


6. Your time will come.

As previously noted, freshman year was not my favorite. And if it seems that some people around you are blossoming at 15, then just wait because no one will see it coming whenever you start to turn heads, whether it be at age 17 or age 35. No person is the same, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You’ll also notice that right around the time you let your true, incredible personality show, people will flock to you. Because no matter what the world tells you, a sense of humor and a good heart is more attractive than a spray tan and highlights.


7. Go out and have fun.

I’ve always been a homebody, so it takes a lot to get me out. Freshman year is when you will find out if you’re more inclined to stay out with friends all weekend or if you would rather take some time for yourself and watch a compelling show or read a good book. Either way, I’ve noticed that it’s more often that you regret staying home than leaving the house.


8. Don’t eat your feelings.

OK, maybe sometimes you should. Just not every other day. But one day of the week? Go crazy.


9. Don’t be embarrassed to get to know your teachers.

If you ask my freshman year teachers if they remember me, half of them would probably say yes and the others would need some jogging. I was rather quiet my freshman year, so if those teachers came into one of my senior year classes they’d quickly notice my change in demeanor. It’s fine to be reserved, as I am, but you must engage yourself in your classes because that’s how you get remembered by teachers, learn better and get good recommendations.


10. Don’t hate it.

My exterior claims to have disliked high school. But I also drive by my school and feel waves of nostalgia, thinking about how simple and scheduled life was. I’m not even to college yet and I can already feel the difference, so I can only imagine what a storm I have coming. It’s cliche, all of it, but embrace it because even if you don’t want to peak in high school, you should still have a good time. Trust me, high school will break you and make you, and it will make your heart both joyful and sad. Enjoy all of it.


High school is the best four years for some, but for others, it is not their cup of tea. Make it whatever your heart desires, but at least try to have fun. If you find the right people, no circumstance is as bad as it may seem. For me, high school was great looking back, but I am certain greater things lie ahead. So make it the best it can be because everyone has to go through it, and you may as well have a great time.

Lead Image Credit: Pixabay

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Madison Atkinson - University of Arkansas

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