So, you’ve finally made it: you are a freshman in high school. For some of you, it will be the last thing between you and going off on your own into the great beyond. It’s an exciting time, but unfortunately it will include some of the most stressful experiences you have ever had.
High school is a time of self-discovery and improvement; a time of staying up late at night and dragging yourself out of bed at an ungodly hour of the morning. You will meet new friends, and maybe you will find a special someone waiting for you somewhere along the way. You have much to do, more to learn and many experiences to have fond memories about later.
Before you go on this journey, there are some things I want to tell you. There is, of course, the usual: do your homework, pay attention in class, try to eat three meals a day…do your homework. Please, for the sake of whatever god or deity you believe in, do the homework, and do it before the last day.
I can’t count how many times I have said, or heard others say, “Oh, we have plenty of time,” and then stay up until 3:00 a.m. writing the five page essay that’s due the next day, only to forget to study for the test which also happens to be that day. Seriously, it’s like the teachers conspire to create the most inconvenient due dates or something.
Lagging behind on your work means that before you’ve finished, there has almost definitely been another assignment added, and now you have to work on two assignments at the same time, meaning that you won’t be able to work fast enough, and, lo and behold, there are suddenly 10 different things to get done and no time to do them.
Even if your assignments aren’t a massive part of a grade (which they sometimes are), they’re always worth doing. I’m sure you have heard this a million times, and you will hear it a million more, but let me be the million and first person to tell you: homework will help you understand the subject you’re struggling with better, and will help you get higher scores on tests.
While you’re here, you should try out some clubs. We have many different sports teams, science clubs, competitive engineering clubs, even a knitting club. If you pay attention to what is on the announcements, you will definitely find something that you’ll like.
Now, time for a more serious topic. It is unfortunate I have to tell you this, but there will be people here who, let’s just say, are not the best examples of upstanding citizens. There will be those who belittle you, make fun of you and make you feel like trash. This is the unfortunate fact of life; among the many people who make our day brighter, there are those who cast a shadow on it just to see you stumble in the dark. In these times, it will be hard to keep yourself together.
No matter who you are, there is always someone to talk to. Each teacher here is more than just an education automaton; they are a person who you can talk to, a human being who can commiserate with your pain and help you work through it. All you have to do is ask.
No matter how bad it gets, no matter how gray the sky and how snide the voices behind your back, remember, this is not the end. This is not your life. This is four years to wade through before your life begins, before you leave it all behind. In my freshman year, I felt like I had forever ahead of me, with no end in sight. But as the years went by, it started to feel like time was flying by like sign posts on a highway. You see a glimpse of the exit in the distance, and all of a sudden, it’s right on top of you. You’re on the home stretch and you can taste the finish line. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and no matter how it twists and turns, there is only one way to go: forward.
Fortunately, these unpleasantries will not be what defines your time at MTHS. It should, at most, be a gloomy footnote in a lovely period of your life. You are not alone, and if you need support, all you need to do is look around. Thank you for your time, drive safely, and welcome to MTHS, home of the Hawks.
All graphics by Bruno Porras.