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WELCOME TO EAST: TIPS FOR FRESHMEN

Hey freshmen! Are you nervous for your first year of high school? Well, have no fear, for Gabe is here, with my East Side News exclusive tips for how to succeed in high school!

by Gabe Guo

Wellness Welcome sign to new students on the wall near 219. Photo: Lanzone

Hey freshmen! Are you nervous for your first year of high school? Well, have no fear, for Gabe is here, with my East Side News exclusive tips for how to succeed in high school!

1. Use the library. Seriously. The library is here for a reason, and it’s not just checking out books. Instead of seeing who can make the best chocolate milk bubbles and checking Instagram memes (no, I don’t use social media) in the Commons, you should utilize your free periods to get your work done. Time management is one of the most important skills in high school, and as we all know, the enemy of time management is procrastination. Now, you may be saying, “But Gabe, it’s only 10:00am! I have so much time left in the day!” Well, hypothetical freshman (or sophomore), any time you have work to do and choose not to do it is procrastination, and as I have learned from years of high school experience, procrastination is BAD, with a capital B, A, and D. Furthermore, even if it’s early in the morning, you’re establishing an attitude of indifference that carries on into the afternoon, then the evening, then the wee hours past midnight. Think about it this way. If you get all your work done during your free periods, then you have your whole afternoon and evening to yourself for uninterrupted fun time, without having to worry about work.

2. Don’t take too many hard classes. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. Symptoms of taking too many hard classes include: stacks of homework, less free time, more sleep deprivation, and more stress. Yes, it is important to challenge yourself, but there is a difference between challenging and overloading yourself. When you are overloaded, you don’t have the freedom or the mental clarity to pursue your passions. Something I learned is that although the stuff we learn in school is important, it is even more important to apply this knowledge into creative pursuits that interest you. When you pursue your interests and exercise your creativity, you feel more happy and fulfilled. Furthermore, it leads to individualism, so that everybody is unique and special in their own way; after all, what’s fun about knowing the exact same facts and having the exact same skills as the kid sitting next to you in Biology? This leads me to my next point.

3. If you haven’t found your “thing”, find it. If you have found it, immerse yourself into it. So, what exactly is a “thing”? I define your “thing” to be your greatest interest, something that you can’t stop thinking about, something that you can’t put down, something that makes you genuinely happy every time you do it. It’s kind of like a productive, non-harmful addiction. Examples include, but are not limited to, jazz music, creative writing, lacrosse, coding, painting, baking, and wood-carving. And no, Instagram and Snapchat do not count; the scientists can back me up on that one. When you do your “thing”, you will find that you are happier, and will have created something cool that you are genuinely proud of, to show for all your time spent.

4. Don’t vape. Don’t do drugs. In the event that you do already do these things, please seek help! And please don’t vape or use drugs in the school bathrooms, thinking that you’re cool and that nobody knows. It’s not cool, and you’ll eventually get caught and suspended. Seriously. Vaping is bad, and so are drugs. The science also proves that. But, overall, I think this stuff is pretty obvious, and with so many new stories of people getting sick or dying from vaping, why take the risk?

5. Respect your mental health. Meditating is a huge game-changer, as is getting over seven hours of sleep each night. You’d be surprised about how much happier it makes you feel. Aside from happiness (which should be enough of a reason in and of itself), it makes your mind so much more efficient, so that you can get that bonus question on your Geometry test and make the honor roll. I should also note that exercise helps your mental health. Even if you’re not super-athletic (I’m definitely not), going to the gym even just once a week can release endorphins, making you happier and boosting your physical health.

So, these are my tips for freshmen. Did I miss any? If so, come to our next newspaper club meeting on Wednesday in Room 204 (Yeah, I had to do the obligatory advertisement)! I hope to see you then!

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