Northwest NEWS

August 24, 1998


Back to school


Friendly advice for freshmen

   by Eva Zemandl, a senior at Cedarcrest High School
   Ahhh. It's so relaxing being a senior finally. But as I sit here with my feet propped up, my mind winds through the hallways of Cedarcrest and back to that first day of being a freshmen.
   I remember as my class huddled near the trophy case, eyeing the upper classmen with suspicion. I can't deny that the first experience was nerve twisting.
   Generally, freshmen enter the high school environment fearing the wrath of the upperclassmen and are anxious about their upcomming position on the social ladder.
   Realistically, your position on the social ladder will most likely be similar to your social status in middle school.
   But high school is acedemically challenging, and the journey motivates you to build your self-esteem. In this environment you're better off erasing the social ladder from your mind and concentrating on your goals and achievements.
   Secondly, the upperclassmen (especially the widely-feared seniors) are too busy focusing on their increasing work load. Most of them will offer their helping hand to you or become your friend and may occasionally tease you lightheartedly.
   The easy teasing is only a form of affection, unless it turns physically abusive, slanderous, sexually abusive or emotionally painful. If you display yourself as a smart-aleck, chances are that you may be in for some trouble. Otherwise, your mind should be clear of fear.
   It wasn't until after the first quarter of my freshmen year that I realized I should have used my apprehensiveness in the classroom. High school offers you the opportunity to seize an exploration that can be a positive influence in the way you think. If you want to be successful in high school, you better roll up your sleeves, sharpen your pencils and reach as high as you can.
   Success in high school is more likely to assure your success in college and in the job market. You'll be proud to see the results if you put effort into it.
   Be prepared for several hours of homework each night, and don't expect to encounter a sympathetic teacher when you miss a deadline.
   High school teachers love students who graciously involve themselves in the learning process. As long as they see your effort, they will help you as much as possible.
   Don't be afraid to ask questions in class or to offer an idea; teachers are thrilled when students add spice to their own education. Most importantly, talk to your teachers on a friendly level and get to know their interesting personalities. That teacher-student gap soon fades and is replaced by unforgettable friendships.
   As you travel through your first year of high school, you will begin to notice that your opinion about certain things may change.
   It ís not a form of weakness at all, but a sign that your character as a human being is shaping. Thatís a good thing! In fact, you can strengthen your new knowledge by meeting people outside your comfort zone.
   Instead of huddling close to your clique, walk around and talk to people you don't know as well. When you're comfortable, venture from group to group and explore how they view certain issues and topics.
   Don't be afraid! In the process you will learn more about yourself and develop friendships with people who may open your mind to many new ideas and interests.
   Exploration and discovery are the greatest rewards you will receive throughout high school.
   Perhaps my sappy sweet talking hasn't frightened the butterflies out of your stomach. In fact, your nerves will probably nag you nonstop that first day.
   As expected from past years, your class will most likely find a safe haven near the trophy case. But that's okay; it is a good place until you get used to things. Don't fret now, because it will all get better. After all, those who don't endure freshmenhood may never be true seniors!